By Alaena Fletcher
Western’s tennis club is getting two new captains.
Freshman Ryan Meredith and sophomore Allie Mackey have been elected following the departure of four of the team’s graduating captains.
The club is entirely student-run. There are no coaches, so captains are in charge of running practice and managing the club’s finances.
Meredith said he hopes his background in leadership helps him resolve issues among the team and help everyone have a good time.
“I’m looking forward to devoting a little more time to the team,” Meredith said. “It’s definitely something I’m passionate about, so being able to focus on that and help out everyone to have a good experience, that’s really awesome.”
Meredith and Mackey said they both recognize the big shoes they have to fill, but are up to the challenge. Meredith said maintaining the family atmosphere and camaraderie are goals for him as captain.
“It’s always been super welcoming,” Mackey said. “It’s intimidating [becoming a captain]. I came on to the team not knowing anyone. Right off the bat one of the graduated captains, Manny, every day at practice he’d come up, give everyone high fives and ask how their day was. It just made it more comforting.”
Tournaments are in a co-ed format and so is the club; men and women practice and play their matches together.
According to Britta Springer, a current captain on the team, captains are expected to do a lot. Fundraising, ordering gear, running practice, facilitating travel, filling out paperwork for tournaments, setting up volunteer events and managing social media are just a few of the tasks captains must handle.
Meredith said the goal for the team this year is to place top three in their sections tournament in the fall and qualify for the club national championships in South Carolina. The club didn’t complete that goal last fall.
Mackey and Meredith both picked up a racket for the first time at around 7 years old. Meredith said he enjoyed the challenge of tennis and stuck with it, but Mackey’s first love was field hockey.
“For me it’s a family sport,” Mackey said. “My grandfather was very big into tennis, he got my mom playing. When I was young my mom tried to get me to play tennis, but I wanted to play field hockey. I’m from Maine, and when we moved to Washington, field hockey is just not a thing here, so back to tennis.”
According to Springer, the plan is for Mackey to take over volunteering duties and Meredith will help run practice and order gear.
“Alex Lok and I would like to improve upon the commitment level of each captain, as we consider this position to be like a job,” Springer said. “We want to invite change into the team, and allow structures to adjust when needed. That means constant innovation and creativity to make the team be the best it can be.”