ARMONK, N.Y. – Armonk’s Grace Conrad said she’s anxious to start her summer tennis season. Her spring season with the Convent of the Sacred Heart team in Greenwich will certainly be hard to top.
Conrad, a freshman, played No. 3 singles and No. 1 doubles for the girls’ varsity Tigers and helped them earn tthe New England Class B title and a share of the Fairchester Athletic Association championship.The New England title was the first for the school, which beat Kingswood-Oxford, 5-2, in the finals. Sacred Heart earned a share of its first FAA title in tennis in 11 years.
“It was a really good season for us,’’ Conrad said. “We were a really good team individually and as a team. Being a freshman, it was a new experience for me playing on a varsity team. It’s mostly an individual sport. It took some getting used to playing as part of a team, but it was a really good experience. One of the biggest challenges was trying to stay focused during my matches while wanting to root for teammates after my match was over. I think by the end of the season I managed it pretty well.”
The spring season with her high school team was a good tuneup for summer for Conrad, who is ranked 28th in the state by tennisrecruiting.net. Conrad trains locally during the summer at Con Petire Tennis with Rick Fermanm, which she credits with the development of her game.
“Summer is the best time,’’ Conrad said. “A lot of people don’t play as much because there are so many summer activities. I devote my summer to my matches and go to as many camps as I can. I love going to sleep away summer camps. I think they’ve helped me become a better player.” Conrad’s goal is to play tennis in college.
While Conrad has grown physically, the biggest development over the past year has been in her mental approach.
“Before I’d get upset if I lost a match,’’ she said. “Now I know that instead of being upset, I can learn from it. I think I’ve learned a lot about sportsmanship, too. It can get pretty intense sometimes. I think I’ve grown as a person because of some of the things I’ve seen on the court. You kind of deal with it and figure out how to act in some tough situations.”
Aside from her tennis, Conrad was a member of Sacred Heart’s Publishing Hearts Club. The club wrote and illustrated a 38-page book intended for young readers. Conrad helped with the sale of the book, and the club donated proceeds to Reach Out and Read, a children’s literacy organization. She was one of only two freshmen involved in the club.
“I think it showed me how confident the heads of the club were and how much they got done,’’ Conrad said. “I’m proud of everyone that we sold so many books and created so much awareness about children’s literacy.”
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