The Steury Award goes to players who didn't play tennis as a freshman but joined at some other point in their high school career. Michael Steury is the original, but we've had other players who made significant contributions after starting late. Wes Klassen didn't play his freshman year but ended up with a winning record at a combination of #3 singles and #2 singles his junior and senior year. Nick Rebec and Misha Rebec also started their sophomore seasons, and ended up contributing to the varsity last year.
Sometimes they don't play because they aren't sure it will be fun. Other times they don't play because they wanted to play another sport, and then didn't like it quite as much as they thought. But most of the time, it's the team nature in tennis, the encouragement of their friends, the laid back atmosphere of practice, the beauty of the game or some combination of those things that draws these players to the game after their freshman year.
This year, the Steury Award winner was drawn to tennis by a car crash.
Andrew Snyder, who played a significant role on the soccer team his freshman year, got into a serious car accident early in August. Soon he was told that he could not play a contact sport for 3 months. That opened the door for him to join us on the tennis team, which he did for the second half of the year. Andrew played mostly JV matches, though he did win one match at varsity #1 singles against Churubusco. Playing #1 singles JV, he advanced through the winner's bracket of the JV NLC tournament and took 3rd place - falling only to Warsaw. He also pushed the varsity, giving us a solid and consistent hitting partner and making sure that everyone was sharp.
We can only hope that Andrew will be back to play some more tennis.
In connection with Ben Mast week, two years ago when Andrew was an 8th grader, I told Ben Mast that he would be an excellent tennis player if we could convince him to join the team. So Ben, who shared common interests with Andrew in drama and musicals, tried to convince him to join the team. It didn't work freshman year, but you can see the draw in the second year :-)
Happy Ben Mast Week! Tomorrow's award - The Klassen Award for the team's most aggressive player. Hmmmm....