Tennis nets new members

Exchange students from all over the globe swing rackets for the LHS tennis team


Claire Robinson

The tennis team included four exchange students this school year.

By Kira Auchenbach

Four exchange students got into the swing of things with help from their teammates and coaches.
The girls’ tennis team gained four new players, all of different cultural backgrounds and experience levels.

“It’s been fun,” coach Chris Marshall said. “It’s always neat to see someone with a different culture and how they see things differently and as far as sports go, it’s a little bit different.”

Some of the girls joined the team to continue their tennis careers after playing at home.
“I really like tennis, and I just wanted to keep playing it,” senior Natalia Leyba-Gamboa, an exchange student from Venezuela, said.

Sophomore Sasha Koroleva also played at home. She played for three years in Russia.
The other two girls stepped onto the court for the first time this year.

“I always wanted to play tennis, and I had the opportunity here, so I did,” sophomore German exchange student Viktoria Wenzel said.

In many countries, such as Sweden, athletic teams are not associated with schools. Swedish junior Sofia Rommel researched her options for what she could do at LHS.
“I looked up what sports I could play, and tennis seemed fun,” she said.

In other countries, sports are integrated into the school day.
“Back at my home it’s more like a class, you’re in a line and the teacher tells you what to do,” Leyba-Gamboa said. “We don’t play that much against each other. Here it’s just like constant training, and that’s the difference.”

One thing that remains the same for tennis everywhere is teamwork.
“I think they’ve bonded pretty well,” Marshall said. “I think they all have made friends, and I think it’s probably helped them … in the school setting and… they have other people that they have something in common with. I think it’s a good thing.”

One challenge that faced the exchange students was getting to know their team. Over time they began to bond and mingle with their tennis teammates.
“They’re nice [and] they’re pretty fun,” Leyba-Gamboa said. “I really like playing with them.”
Along with challenges they faced, tennis also brought some benefits, including opening their social lives to new people.

“[Tennis] made [school] more fun and social,” Rommel said. “[I get] to meet, get to know a lot of people,” Rommel said. “I get to meet a lot of people and exercise, do something fun.”