CEDAR RAPIDS — Eleven years ago, one Cedar Rapids Xavier athlete picked up a tennis racket and did not look back.
Sophomore Matthew Schmit hopes his countless hours on the tennis court during the summer and on vacation will bring the best for the Saints’ boys’ tennis team.
“Matthew is very talented. One of his biggest strengths is the patience he shows when playing a match,” Coach Jim Potts said. “He does not always go for the big shots right away but waits for his opportunity.”
Schmit has been preparing for the 2019 season since last summer.
“I did tennis clinics at Elmcrest Country Club two or three times a week leading up to the season,” Schmit said.
That was not all Schmit did to prepare for the season, though. Most high school student spent their spring break relaxing and enjoying time off school. That was not the case for Schmit. He spent his spring break preparing for his upcoming tennis season.
“There were tennis courts at my resort in California,” Schmit said. “I played almost every single day.”
Not only is he a talented and dedicated player, but also a great role model to the four freshmen who joined varsity this year.
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“Matthew comes to practice each day with a positive attitude,” Potts said. “This, in turn, has a positive impact on the team, and in particular, the younger members of the team.”
One of Schmit’s goals this season is to make it to state with his doubles partner, junior Wesley Johnson.
“Playing doubles with Matthew is pretty fun. We have great chemistry and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Johnson said. “Matt is a great teammate. He pushes me to be better and keeps me motivated after a mistake.”
Schmit and Johnson did not end the season the way they wanted last year at districts, but they are hungry for another chance at qualifying for state.
“We pushed the match into a tiebreaker but came up short,” Johnson said. “Even though we lost, we learned a lot which we can use this year.”
The boys’ tennis team hosts Jefferson this afternoon at 4 p.m.