ST. JAMES, Minn. (KEYC) — The St. James girls’ tennis team is tearing up the court this season with an overall record of 18–1 so far.
Leading the way for the Saints is junior Ellie Becker, who’s our KEYC News 12 Prep Athlete of the Week.
The young athlete has already made multiple appearances at the state tournament.
“I went my eighth-grade year, my sophomore year and then I also went individually my sophomore year with my sister,” said Becker.
Becker wasn't planning on playing tennis in high school but the number one singles star had a big influence in her life that changed her mind.
“I was originally a volleyball player and I was thinking I was going to go into that, but then my sister, I really look up to her all the time so I kinda just switched over to be with her,” Becker said.
Head Coach Les Zellmann had the opportunity to coach both Ellie and her sister, noticing some differences between the siblings.
“Her sister, Zoie, and Ellie are a little bit different as far as their demeanor. Zoie was a matter of portrayal as a matter of fact, Ellie brings that same type of thing, the only difference is you see a lot more fun stuff coming out of her persona,” Les Zellmann, St. James Area head coach, said.
Despite the sisters going about things differently on the court, their leadership is a quality they share.
“She’s a good role model simply because she’s got a smile on her face all the time, she brings a lot of effort to what she does and when the kids see how she does things, it’s a thing that other kids will look at and say that’s how I should do it,” Zellmann said.
“I feel like now I’m an older kid, I always looked up to the older kids when I was younger, so I need to be the older kids can look up to,” Becker said.
One Becker’s biggest assets is her footwork.
“I think my foot speed is one of my best things I have because I can get to pretty much every ball,” Becker said.
“She can go from the net area to the baseline very, very quickly, that’s probably her greatest asset physically, her other strong assets is physical strength, she may not be that big, but she is actually pretty strong,” Zellmann said.
Along with her athletic ability, Becker brings a great presence to the team.
“She’s a fine kid, I just am very fortunate to have her on our team being a lead and core player of our team,” Zellmann said.
Her influence on her team and connection to the court is why Becker is our KEYC News 12 Prep Athlete of the Week.