Mora Girls Tennis Head Coach Mara Sjodin shares about the upcoming 2020 season:
How is the makeup of the varsity team different from last year?: We have a lot of returning players on our varsity team this year. We graduated two seniors last year, so there were two varsity spots open on our team at the beginning of the season. With a lot of returning players and a large number of new players to our program, it’s been very competitive to see who travels with the varsity team.
How has the coronavirus pandemic changed the team’s goals and priorities for the season?: Our goals are always changing with each match, but as a whole program, a few steady goals always remain: work hard, be competitive, and have fun. With COVID-19 affecting things, we’ve had to make changes. We are only allowed 11 total matches this year, which is very different than a “normal” year. In a non-COVID season, we’d have around 16 matches to play, just before school starts...and then of course many more after that. So, it’s definitely changed our season, but our goals of working hard, being competitive, and having fun are still there.
What changes are most challenging and how are the athletes adapting to those changes?: With the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve had to change quite a few things to make sure our athletes are staying healthy. The hardest change we’ve had to make is altering our schedule to play only 11 matches. The seniors who’ve been out for tennis since 7th grade don’t get to have a full season and that’s really hard on them. As a whole, our team has dealt with these changes well. The seniors are positive about it and have accepted that our season will be short.
What can the community do to show their support this year?: This has been such a strange year. I think the best way for our community to support the tennis program and Mora students this year is to cheer our athletes on in all that they do. The athletes on our tennis courts are the same kids who bag your groceries, perform in the Spring Musical, attend your church, or deliver your paper. Be kind and supportive as they’re all working hard to navigate through this tough time, just as everyone is. Of course, if you want to catch a tennis match, we do have home matches each week and just ask that you social distance while you’re there and wear a mask if social distancing isn’t possible.
What do you hope these young athletes will take away from their sports experience this season?: We have 37 girls out for tennis this year, with quite a few of them being new to tennis. I hope that our new players learn to love the game and embrace the opportunity to grow. I hope our returning players enjoy their season with a positive growth mindset and the desire to win. Overall, I want our athletes to look back on our 2020 season and remember that they made the best out of our season and had fun, despite the many changes that we had to make.