In 2018, the Mora Mustangs girls tennis team racked up four solid wins. With the entire varsity team returning for the new season, the team is off to a solid start this fall.
Here’s what head coach Mara Sjodin had to say about the 2019 season:
What’s different for this season’s team, compared to last season?
A: Our team this year is ready to win. Each of these girls has seen varsity time, so they’ve had the experience of tougher competition. Our whole varsity lineup is returning from last season, so the players are ready to come out strong. Overall, there’s a much more competitive attitude within our team.
What challenges do you expect the team to face this year?
A: I think our biggest challenge this year will be conquering tough teams of the past. The girls have improved a lot and they’ve gained experience, so I know they can compete with any team they face and come out with a win if they set their minds to it. Now, it’s up to them to take it to that next level and defeat some tougher teams. Although this is realistic for us, it’s always intimidating to face teams that are known for success.
How does the coaching staff prepare for a new season?
A: We make a lot of lists. The tennis season is short for the players, but from the coaching aspect it doesn’t really end. As we ended our season last fall, I was already looking to see what was next for the team. Setting dates for matches, fundraisers and off-season opportunities started last fall and I even found myself writing down lineups in March. Plenty of planning, research and organizing goes into preparing for the season.
What makes a player a good team captain?
A: A good team captain influences the team in positive ways. Their role is really important because they are trusted to lead the team and set an example of what a coachable player looks like. If the captain is willing to work hard, the team will work hard.
How do you think participation in athletics affects students beyond the swim meets?
A: People often ask me this question. Participating in athletics greatly affects a person’s ability to collaborate and be part of a team. Being part of a team is a great life skill as it teaches a person to open up to different opinions and viewpoints, and celebrates the talents of people they work closely with. Participating in athletics also teaches a person to value victory and learn from defeat.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the upcoming season?
A: Our season is off to a great start. We’ve had medal winners in every tournament we’ve been in so far, and we recently took first place in the Aitkin Invitational. The girls are working hard, and looking forward to a successful season.