GRAND RAPIDS – Although she started playing tennis relatively late in eighth grade, it didn’t take long for Eva Kangas to master the game.
In fact, she has become so proficient that she has been the No.1 player in singles for the Grand Rapids / Greenway (GRG) women’s tennis team for the past two seasons.
“It’s something that I definitely learned quickly,” said Kangas, a senior. “I really love that tennis is a lifelong sport and I also really love how tennis gives me a way to get involved in my community by coaching young people and Special Olympics athletes. “
GRG coach Jen Dulong said Kangas was a pleasure to train and an extremely hard worker.
“Eva is a hard worker both on and off the pitch,” said Dulong. “Watching her take private tennis lessons, even after a long match, she coaches young athletes. She’s so kind and patient with them too, so she’s been a great asset to the team. “
Kangas – the daughter of Jeanine and Rick Kangas – believes her greatest physical quality on the courts is her ability to be consistent.
“I’m a perfectionist; I don’t like to miss too many shots,” Kangas explained. “I really try to be consistent and quick on my feet to hit every ball.”
Dulong said Kangas does a lot of things on the tennis courts.
“She is a very good tennis player. Eva is very consistent and she gets everything back, ”said Dulong. “She gets to the ball quickly and that has been a huge asset to her this year.”
Dulong said the team is still waiting to see if there will be a state tournament this fall. With the sections coming up next week, the coach said everyone is going to be hoping for the best.
“I really hope they decide to have a state competition and that we have a chance to succeed,” Dulong said. “We only have teams to report this year and no individuals.”
Kangas added: “I just hope our team can advance as far as possible and play our best.”
Kangas also excels in the classroom with a GPA of 4.0.
“I think academics are very important to student athletes and more important than sport itself,” Kangas explained. “Studies and time management are very important to me. I think tennis is a good stress reliever after a long day of studying and it gives me a little break before I go to my homework.
Kangas said his goal was to play tennis in college. She is currently undecided, but she has looked into the programs of the College of Sainte-Scholastique and Saint-Olaf.
“I think playing college for me would just be a way to pursue my passion for the sport, to learn more and to improve my game,” said Kangas. She plans to double the major in English education and French education with the idea of becoming a teacher of English and French.