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The student news site of Centennial High School - Frisco, Texas

Cen10 News

The student news site of Centennial High School - Frisco, Texas

Cen10 News

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Hard Work Pays Off: Centennial Tennis Team Reaches a New Milestone!

The Centennial Tennis Team with their awards at the 2023 State Championship.

FRISCO, TX-  We’ve all heard sayings and inspirational quotes, but some may question if these motivational sayings truly impact how we approach life. This doubt makes Centennial High School’s Tennis Team’s use of the well-known saying “ hard work pays off in the long term” more impactful when they won the 2023 state title. 


The Centennial Titans had to overcome multiple obstacles and show incredible dedication to go from runner-up in the UIL Team Tennis State Tournament last year to defeating a previously undefeated team: the Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (Austin LASA). The Titans won with a score of 10-1 on Oct. 26, 2023, at the Waco Regional Tennis Center. 


Not only did the Titans persevere and grow from this experience as players, but they learned valuable lessons and had new experiences. From the first month of school until now, the team has consistently put time and effort into practice to achieve success through the hard work shared by Junior Akriti Bhakti. 


“The first month of school, we would have practice from 6:30 to 8 [a.m.], and we would try to have practice every single day after school once the temperature got better (so like mid-September),” said Bhakti.


The tennis team saw improvement throughout the season as they worked hard to improve their skills and practice to win district championships and ultimately go to state. In addition, the coaches focused on specific skills by advising players to maximize their potential. Coach Fair has previous experience as a four-year varsity player in high school and one year of college. He has been a coach for 22 years, with about 13 to 14 of those years spent in Frisco, and this year is his seventh in Centennial.


“We started doing more pull-out sessions where we would work with the top 6 girls. In those smaller groups, we worked on specific skills that I thought were necessary to excel at to help our championship run,” Fair elaborated. “Individually, regarding the team, I talk to kids all the time about what they’re doing well and what they need to work on, [and]  there‘s a lot of feedback between me and Coach Aguilar.”


A large part of this process was having players on the team with prior experience to guide the younger players. 


Fair elaborated on how “the upperclassmen and kids that went to state last year helped motivate the younger players. They talked about how last year we went to the finals [and how], even though we were the first Frisco school to qualify for state, we didn’t win the championship, and this year there was a mentality of “we’re gonna win it all.”


The coaches’ feedback paved the way for each player to reach their potential, despite the player’s level of experience or skill set. Bhakti has played tennis for six to seven years, which brings invaluable participation to the tennis team. Nevertheless, Bhakti spent the previous season developing a stronger mindset for use in each game despite the game’s outcome. 


“Something that I learned was to not get upset about the tiny setbacks and bumps in the road and look at the overall picture,” Bhakti said. “If I lose [a match] or if I lose[s] doubles, it doesn’t mean that our team has lost.”


A positive mindset helped the team when they faced challenging opponents. Centennial’s tennis team played against the maximum number of teams: eight from 5A and one from 4A in regular season and playoffs. The closest match Centennial faced in playoffs was a 10-7 victory against Wakeland in the regional quarterfinals.


After reflecting on the last few months and celebrating their recent win, the tennis team reflected on the new experience and the rewarding feeling of seeing their efforts pay off. Each player played a vital role in the tennis team’s journey throughout the season. 


“I think the things we value and work on were evident in all of our matches, especially the matches against the top teams,” said Fair. “The energy was fantastic, and the effort from top-down as well. We played our best tennis in the biggest matches of the season.” 


Bhakti explained how she felt she contributed to the Centennial tennis team’s journey to the state championship through her win in her match. A 10-win is when you need 10 different goals to win, and she “was the 10-win in the final match that helped us go to state.” 


Ultimately, hard work and dedication succeeded in the Centennial tennis team reaching a new milestone. From this off-season to the spring season in 2024, the team will continue to improve and grow as individuals and as a team. Stay in the loop for next season by keeping up with the FISD Athletics website, Facebook, and X

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About the Contributor
Medha Shah
Medha Shah, Social Media Manager
Hello, I’m Medha, a  junior at Centennial High School. This year, I'm the social media manager who handles Titan Times Instagram posts, and it's my second year in the Newspaper. Other programs I’m involved in are Orchestra, Astronomy Club, and Science Olympiad. I like writing, reading, gaming, and listening to music in my free time. My dream job is to be an astrophysicist.