High stakes, higher expectations

It’s never been done before. Senior Davina Ngyun, a varsity singles tennis player for four years, has a chance to win her third state championship.

“It’s pretty cool because Utica has never had a tennis state champion before,” coach Christine Dabrowski said. “Because she is a two time state champ, it pumps the girls up to play her in practice.”

Already having signed with her dream school, Michigan State, Nguyen has no pressure to impress colleges and can focus on winning.

According to Dabrowski, having a player at that level makes the entire team better. It takes the pressure off players like senior Antonetta Berisic, the team’s number two player.

“It really does take a lot of pressure off of all the other players,” junior Annalise Guitar said. “Knowing we have a player that wins most of her matches takes off the load our number two and three have to carry.”

Nguyens’ success shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone of her teammates, considering she has been playing tennis since she was 4 and a half years old. According to Dabrowski, her hard work every day in practice pushes the rest of the team to work just as hard.

“I practice for countless hours, at least two hours a day especially in the summer,” Nguyen said. “I also go to a trainer once a week which has all went into helping get me to where I am now.”

Dabrowski plans to have four players accompany her to states to cheer on Nguyen, just as she has the past two years. It gives the young players a feeling of the intense competition, and motivates them to work harder to make it to that level.

Though they all can’t go, the entire team will be supporting Nguyen through her final year of high school tennis.

“I really don’t feel like it’s ‘championship or bust’ for her this year,” sophomore Raven Manziella. “She’s accomplished all she has set out to do through the past few years, now I think she will be satisfied with whatever the result is.”

This record isn’t the only one she has broken during her high school career. Others include being the first Utica singles player to never drop a set, and the first to have an undefeated season. The one yet to be broken, however, has to be the most impressive.

“It doesn’t really matter if I already have a scholarship,” Nguyen said. “The point is to win and that’s what I’m here to do.”