Girls Tennis Sports Spring Sports

Girls Tennis Co-Captain Katherine Hu Leads With Positivity and Sportsmanship

D. ZHU/The Phillipian

Co-Captain Katherine Hu ’19 values making everyone on the team feel included.

In last weekend’s Nepsac Championships, Co-Captain Katherine Hu ’19 won the deciding match for Andover Girls Tennis to claim the title after Andover’s loss in the finals last season.

According to Nicole Lee ’22, Hu’s decisive contribution to the team’s win was not a unique occurrence, as Hu is consistently a contributing player for the team.

“She’s always one of the players on team whose matches are crucial to whether we win or lose. Usually, she’s one of the last ones to finish, so it’s always great just cheering her on and being there to support her through everything… She’s always pulling through for everyone,” said Lee.

According to Hu, winning Nepsacs her Lower and Senior years were highlights of her tennis career at Andover.

“To win and end the season on such a strong high note is a really great experience. Collectively as a team, we sort of push each other, and it’s a team effort to win and supporting every single girl on the team,” said Hu.

Hu began playing tennis with her father, but turned to playing on more interscholastic tennis as she grew up. She believes the support she received from her coaches and mentorship from her teammates are memorable aspects of her career at Andover.

Hu said, “I love the team to death, every single one of the girls…What I really value is making sure that everyone feels included.… I think it’s really important to support everybody on the team and sort of create an environment that is both inclusive and supportive.”

She continued, “My coach has always been there for me, [Head Coach Deborah] Chase, and also the assistant coach… as well as a couple Seniors who have graduated…I think all of them have just been they’ve been great mentors to me and taught me a lot about both the sport and how to be a good teammate.”

Hu is an inspiration due to her diligence and positivity, according to Reimi Kusaka ’21.

“Katherine has been on of the best Captains I could ever ask for. She’s supportive both on and off the court and she makes sure that everyone’s day is great before practice and after practice. She’s just like a ray of sunshine. When you see her, you just feel so much happier because she radiates this positive energy,” said Kusaka.

Co-Captain Rhea Bhandari ’19 said, “As a Captain, she’s very positive, very optimistic. She’s a very encouraging person, I know that she has a very good connection with a lot of the girls on the team. Even when we’re all playing in a row, she’ll always call out other girls and pump them up, even if they’re down.”

In addition, Hu’s sportsmanship is one of her most notable qualities as a player, according to Kusaka.

“She’s super focused. She has great sportsmanship. She always ends up being friends with her opponents because she’s just so nice. What I respect about her as a player is that she’s very, very patient on the court, and I think that’s really something that most players struggle with. She always comes back. She never gives up,” said Kusaka.

According to Hu, tennis has taught her to fight for everything until the end.

“It really teaches you to rely on yourself and believe in yourself because it’s just you and your opponent on the court with the ability to change the match and the outcome of the match. You really have to fight for every single point. I think that’s something that tennis has taught me over the years,” said Hu.

Lee said, “Katherine shows up to practice every day really motivated. She is such a role model to us by coming with such a positive attitude each day. That makes all of us want to train harder and do better. She’s always there willing to work hard, to put in the effort to do what it takes to win.”

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Hannah

She’s always really energetic and has a relationship with everyone on the team, so that really keeps us motivated. Kat is very consistent. She has a lot of power. She never gives up. A lot of times she’ll go into split sets, […] and she does really well like with that.

Reimi

Katherine has been on of the best captains I could ever ask for. She’s supportive both on and off the court and she makes sure that everyone’s day is great before practice and after practice. She’s just like a ray of sunshine. When you see her, you just feel so much happier because she radiates this positive energy. Since my freshman year, she’s always been like a mentor. She’s been supportive of me […] when I was struggling with transitioning to this school, she was always there to help me out and encourage me.

She’s super focused. She has great sportsmanship. She always ends up being friends with her opponents because she’s just so nice. I think I like what I respect about her as a player is that she’s very, very patient on the court, and I think that’s really something that most players struggle with. She always comes back. She never gives up.

Nicole

Well, I think one thing that Katherine does super well is she has such great tenacity. She never gives up. She fights for every point, and given her playing style, which is on the defensive side, I would say she makes sure that she’s never giving up. She fights for every single ball, runs everything down, and make sure just to leave it all on the court.

Katherine shows up to practice every day really motivated. She is such a role model to us by coming with such a positive attitude each day. That makes all of us want to train harder and do better. She’s always there willing to work hard, to put in the effort to do what it takes to win.

She’s always one of the players on team whose matches are crucial to whether we win or lose. Usually, she’s one of the last ones to finish, so it’s always great just cheering her on and being there to support her through everything. I think, even today, in our Nepsac championships, her match was one of the deciding ones. She was the fifth match to win, which secured our victory, and I think just when we saw her hit that final winner, all of us cheered around the court, and I think it was a good experience for all of us. She’s always pulling through for everyone.

Rhea

Her goals are super clear. She really wants to win, so I would say that she’s a very, she fights back a lot, she never gives up. When she’s down, she remembers like focus in each point. She’s very in it when she wants to be.

As a captain, she’s very positive, very optimistic. She’s a very encouraging person, I know that she has a very good connection with a lot of the girls on the team. Even when we’re all playing in a row, she’ll always call out other girls and pump them up, even if they’re down.

She really wants all of the team members to feel valued and I think she makes a lot of effort to connect with every person on the team and make them feel they actually play an important part in our matches and our games. […] She’s super genuine and very upbeat, very supportive, very optimistic. I think that a lot of the girls look up to her as a role model

Katherine

Sure, um, I’ve been playing tennis for almost 10 years now I started I think when I was like eight in first grade. And that was when I was like, my dad on like the high school course that’s like how I started playing tennis. I played more competitive tennis, but over the years I think I played like less outside tournaments and such I focused sort school, like tennis at PA, so Interscholastic tennis. I think it’s a great sport. It really teaches you to rely on yourself and believe in yourself because it’s just you and your opponent on the court with the ability to change the match and the outcome of the match. You really have to fight for every single point. I think that’s something that tennis has taught me over the years.

I think my favorite part about tennis I’ve ever is the team. I love the team to death, every single one of the girls. I’ve made some of my best friends on the team and my mentors, especially when I was younger. I have been on the team for four years now, since freshman year, and I have made so many great friends who have helped me through and gave me advice throughout Andover. The bonding that we have, and just being able to count on each other and support each other during the matches, on and off the court, has truly been amazing.

I think winning Nepsacs is always going to be a highlight. I won Nepsacs my first time during my lower year in 2017. It was also against Hotchkiss. We also won Nepsacs again this year, which was again, incredible, especially my senior year. To win and the season on such a strong high note is a really great experience. Collectively as a team, we sort of push each other, and it’s a team effort to win and supporting every single girl on the team. I’m so proud of every single one. I think that’s probably something that is a highlight.

My coach has always been there for me, Ms. Chase, and also the assistant coach, Gabby, and I think most of my coaches have been really great supporting factors in my tennis career, as well as a couple seniors who have graduated, like Lauren Lee, class of 18, Sewon class of 17. Isa, Kate, Regan Posorske, so many of the girls who’ve been on the team have passed…Amy Xie… I think all of them have just been they’ve been great mentors to me and taught me a lot about both the sport and how to be a good teammate.

I’ve definitely looked up to the leadership in the past years I’ve been on the team. I really looked up to them and how they’ve sort of spoken with the team and handled certain situations. What I really value is making sure that everyone feels included. Because we have such a small team of like eight kids, it’s really easy sometimes to have these little pockets, like friendships and such. I think it’s really important to support everybody on the team and sort of create an environment that is both inclusive and supportive.

I personally think that the team dynamic has been better than it has in past years. Throughout the grades… we have new freshmen, lowers, uppers, and I think we really just work together. I don’t feel like there’s any difference between me as a senior versus new freshmen who are just on the team. I think that sort of taking away that grade barrier in some cases is really connected to our winning season.

My captainship has been amazing. I am truly grateful for the experiences I had this year. I’m so happy to end on a strong note, and I’m excited for the rest of the girls and the rest of their seasons at Andover.