Having led her team in points and assists from the top of the three-point line, senior Gabrielle Courtney had a reputation for having advanced basketball skills as well as vocal leadership on the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy girls’ basketball team last season.
With basketball now over, Courtney has taken what she’s learned from basketball about leadership to the tennis courts.
“Basketball has definitely helped with mental toughness and encouraging younger players on the team,” said Courtney. “I tell them that I started out my freshman year not knowing what I was doing and I’ve come this far and you guys can come just as far as me.”
This is Courtney’s fourth year on the Pusch Ridge tennis team, which consists of only nine players. She started playing her freshmen year due to encouragement from her parents, friends and most of all the head tennis coach, David Towne.
“As a coach we always are looking for good athletes and kids who are naturally gifted in athletics and who enjoy competing,” said Towne. “Gabby had that.”
It’s not only Courtney’s athleticism that stands out to Towne, but also her sportsmanship and encouragement to the team.
“The first thing is that Gabby models what being competitive the right way looks like. I often joke with her about how she kills other people with her kindness,” said Towne. “After every match she’ll go up and shake her opponents hand. She also is just naturally an encourager and the type of person that people are naturally going to follow.”
Courtney is No. 2 on the girl’s team and plays both singles and doubles matches. Her doubles partner is Allie Scott, who is No. 1 on the team and also a senior. Courtney’s current record for singles is 5-1 and her record for doubles is 4-1. One thing that she really likes about tennis, especially in singles matches, is being able to rely more on herself and less on others.
“Other sports I’ve played involve more than a couple people on the team,” said Courtney. “I like playing one-on-one because I can rely just on myself which helps because I am very competitive. Like it’s all on me if I do well or not.”
Last year, Courtney and her doubles partner Sami Towne, a 2012 graduate, finished as runners-up in state. Courtney wants to leave high school and her tennis career on a good note by finishing as a state champ this year.
“For the team the biggest thing is making it to state this year,” said Courtney. “For me and Allie we want to win doubles which I think we have a good chance this year because the people we played last year have graduated.”
Towne believes that if Courtney and Scott continue to work hard that they have a good chance of taking home a state title.
“If they are able to continue to grow and develop as a doubles team I think they could definitely do it,” said Towne.
Courtney is not planning on playing any sports in college and is currently deciding between either Baylor University or the University of Arizona for after high school. But as for right now, her focus is on the tennis season and enjoying the last couple months of her senior year.