Despite injury, softball team stays focused

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Despite injury, softball team stays focused

Sophomore Laura Werber hits against WJ in an April 17 game.

By Anjali Chatterjee, Staff Writer

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Like most child soccer players, junior William Szamosszegi had dreams of becoming a super star soccer player.  His passion for the sport deteriorrated, however, before he entered high school.

At age 14, William faced the tough choice of deciding between tennis and soccer.

“It was a difficult choice, but I chose tennis because it was an individual sport,”  William said.  “It is more rewarding to win and know that it was all you.  Also you know that you control how you do, and you don’t have to rely on someone else.”

William was influenced by his mother who also plays tennis.

“His mother actually tricked him into attending a week-long tennis clinic at Potomac Tennis over a Christmas break,” Andrew Szamosszegi, William’s father, said.  “But after that he was hooked.”

William played one season a year during his years as an avid soccer player.  Around age 13, his soccer team dissipated so he started focusing on training for tennis.

“I started playing like four days a week and started playing tournaments soon after that,”  William said.

Since he began playing seriously at 13, William has grown as a player mentally, which is key in tennis.

“His mental toughness under pressure and his ability to control his emotions on the court makes him unique as a tennis player,” Andrew said.

William spends many hours focusing on his daily fitness off the tennis court to prepare for tournaments.

“I have always used my athleticism to my advantage in tennis,” William said.  “I have been developing my strokes but have spent the bulk of my time on physical training and exercises.”

William is influenced by his friends pressuring him to win, and his coach because of his support for him to improve.  However, he feels his biggest influence is himself.

“My biggest influence is my personality because I put all the pressure on myself and hold myself accountable when I mess up,” William said.

On the court, William shows potential with all of his strokes, but his favorite stroke is his backhand.

“I like my backhand the most because it is really solid,” William said.

As a CHS player, not only does William hold the number one singles spot, going undefeated so far this season, but he also acts as a true leader.

“Will’s very athletic, which enables him to have intense focus and the ability to make him a great player,” coach David Hurless said.  “He stepped up to the position of number one and a leader as number one.”

William not only performs on the court, but he continues to cheer his teammates on when he is not playing.

“William has a good spirit with his teammates and always cheers us on during matches,” freshman Mark Dager said.

Aside from CHS tennis, William trains at Four Star Tennis Academy in Virginia and has participated in a summer tennis and academic program at the University of Virginia.  He has also given back to the community by setting up a program for children with special needs.

“This winter, he and his friend [Saint Albans junior] Nick Bayh set up a program at the Tennis Center at College Park so that local juniors could train Special Olympic tennis athletes,” Andrew said.

William continues the season strong and looks ahead to play college tennis.

“I learned that tennis can have a huge team aspect that you don’t get to see in Mid-Atlantic tournaments,” William said.  “Also I learned you sometimes have to put the team on your back.’”

The Bulldogs lost to Gaithersburg, 17-7, April 19, making their record 2-9.

Sophomore Laura Werber had many hits, leading the team to pull ahead 8-7 by the beginning of the last inning.

“In the last inning we lost focus and the other team started to hit like crazy, so we ended up losing,”junior Alex Votaw said.

Despite their hard work, the girls also lost to Richard Montgomery, 7-6, April 12.

“Our heads weren’t in the game and we just have to practice,” junior Alena Garcia said.

The team also lost to Whitman 15-4 on April 10 with sophomore Kriza Sy replacing junior pitcher Nora Cleary who was out with a back injury.

The girls have been training hard to improve this season.

“We are working really hard and everyone is focusing on improving themselves so we can improve as a team,” sophomore Laura Werber said.

The team lost two seniors to graduation, but the remaining players have stepped up.

“Dana Harris has filled in nicely at first base, after missing most of last year with an injury,” coach James Collins said.

The team is extremely close, and relies on each other to develop skills and learn from one another.

According to senior Katie Jenkins, the team meshes well, and focuses on playing “clean, fundamentally strong softball.”

This spring the girls hope to have a winning record and enter the playoffs.

“If we keep working hard we could play way better,” Votaw said. “We have a lot more potential than we are showing.”

The Bulldogs look optimistically towards the rest of their season as they prepared for their next game against Wootton April 22.