How LFHS Girls Tennis is Carrying On, Despite COVID-19 Regulations


CC Carter, In Style Editor

We all know that the 2020-2021 school year will be looking different this year for students across the nation. So for some Lake Forest High School students, they have been able to find comfort and familiarity in their sport season. If their season is happening, that is. The girls tennis team is one of the few lucky ones. 

Coming off of a state-winning season, the Scouts were hungry for a second stab at a state title. However, with COVID-19 looming over their season like a dark cloud, the state tournament will not be happening this year. Regardless of what else their season may hold, the girls are remaining open-minded and hopeful about the upcoming weeks.

“We’re taking it day-by-day right now,” said senior player and JV captain Avery Robb. “We have to remember that we are so lucky to even be having our season.” 

“We are doing the best with what we have,” she said.

But there are some COVID-related rules for the players to follow that are making the season look a little bit different.

The JV Girls Tennis Team stands socially distant while wearing masks on picture day

“We have to go to practice with our green screens done, wearing masks, and have two of our own balls labeled with our names,” said Robb.

The “green screen” system is a screening procedure required of the athletes by LFHS.

“It basically asks you all the regular corona-related questions and makes sure that you’re safe to be around,” added Robb. The survey consists of questions relating to symptoms, travel and possible exposure to the virus. 

On top of screening, the players are required to wear their masks at all times except for when playing, while the coaches wear their masks constantly. 

“Once we get onto the courts, we take off our masks and put our bags down at our posters that have our names on it,” said Robb. “This helps us stay socially distant before practice and during water breaks when our masks are off.”

Blue and yellow posters labeled with the players’ names line the court to maintain social distance during water breaks

Off the courts there are still some regulations for the players to follow as well. 

“We aren’t supposed to be spending time in big groups outside of tennis,” said Robb. “If one person gets it, the whole program has to shut down.”

While this year’s tennis season is odd for returning players, new athletes on the team have no previous season to compare it to. This is their normal, and most of these athletes are the freshmen. 

With five new girls on the varsity squad, the team is looking especially strong. A big, strong team can help the Scouts bring in those somewhat “smaller” wins in the regular season, since there will be no state tournament to end the year. The team will still compete in conference and sectional tournaments.

“Honestly, this year we are super strong with new freshmen and some people who improved so much over the past year, so this could be a really good season for our team,” said Varsity senior captain and Northwestern tennis commit Kiley Rabjohns. 

Rabjohns, who was looking to win her third consecutive 1st place state title this year, is excited about the upcoming season and optimistic about the future, even though there is so much unknown. She describes the season thus far as “going really well.”

“It has been super fun even though we’ve had to make some changes,” added Rabjohns. “We have still been able to play singles and doubles matches and do team events which are always a good time.”

It’s when playing other schools that the changes are more apparent. 

The matches, which are known to be typically more social than other sports, have changed drastically as well. 

Players can’t shake hands before and after the match or even stand on the same side of the court during water breaks. 

“We also can’t play a ton of teams that are further away and on court we are careful about not sharing balls and staying distanced at water breaks, but other than that there are a lot of things that are still normal,” said Rabjohns. 

Even though there are many COVID-related changes that make the tennis season look far from usual, the Scouts remain grateful that they are able to find some normalcy in their abnormal school year.