Posted: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 6:21PM

1 Awards: Sistrunk leads the way for the Blue Jays



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Greenwood’s Will Sistrunk found himself in a unique position for a sophomore in 2013. He was coming of off an outstanding freshman year when he went undefeated in the regular season, won districts, and made it all the way to the elite eight of the state tournament. However, the Jays lost a few crucial players from that squad to graduation, and Sistrunk went from the new face on the team to the leader overnight.

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“We had a lot of new faces this year. It was a learning year. We had a few people playing their first year on varsity,” Sistrunk said. 

As the number one, Sistrunk was charged with the task to help make the team better by his coach, Steven Walker. He was up to the challenge, and the team began to make great improvements.

“I would help out with technique and mechanics. I would lead drills in practice and was used as the example,” Sistrunk said.

This was an enormous responsibility, but Sistrunk had been putting in the work to take it on his entire life. He was introduced to the game at the age of six when he played in a summer league at Hickory Hills. He liked the idea of a sport that could be played year-round, so he decided to stick with it. Within a year, he had advanced to Cooper Tennis Academy and eventually worked his way up to Top Level Academy. As he advanced through the ranks, the venues got bigger and the competition got better.

“I started playing competitive tournaments when I was 9 or 10. We got to play on The Plaza court at Cooper, and that was a big deal. I also got to see Jack Sock (one of the best amateur players in the country) play.”

Sistrunk had the guidance of local tennis heavyweights such as Jim Klousia and Doug Elly to coach him along the way. Because of this advanced level of experience and coaching, Sistrunk was more than prepared to take his game to the next level when he entered Greenwood.

“It wasn’t too big of a transition; I was used to the competition because I had played against really good players before,” Sistrunk said. “But the concept of playing for a team made me work even harder.”

Sistrunk credits coach Walker for keeping him motivated to get better.

“Coach Walker is young, so he is able to relate to all of his players. I’m thankful that he is around to help me get better,” Sistrunk said. “We are always having fun in practice, but we know how to get focused when it comes time to play.”

The Jays look to continue the progress of last season in 2014. There are multiple players who have committed to playing in the offseason. Sistrunk has set personal and team goals very high for next season.

“It is going to be tough, but I think that I have a good chance to win state if I work hard and train hard, Sistrunk said. “I think that we should have a good shot in districts and sectionals as a team as well.”

After seeing what the Jay’s accomplished in their “building” year, it is safe to assume that they will be making some noise in 2014.

Getting to know Will Sistrunk
Favorite athletes? Roger Federer and LeBron James
Favorite team? Ole Miss
Pregame superstitions? Always try to warm up on the same side during competition.
Most disliked athlete? Derrick Rose
Favorite movie? The Dark Knight
Favorite actor? Tom Hanks
Favorite athletic memory? Getting third in state with Connor Frazier last year in doubles.
Song on your iPod you are ashamed of? Party in the USA
Hidden talent? Pretty decent snow Skier
 

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Topics : 1 AwardsGreenwoodMen's Tennis
People : Steven WalkerWill Sistrunk
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