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Well-rounded athlete brings leadership to team

The senior from Overland Park, Kansas wasn’t just a tennis player. Ceara Boldridge was an all-around athlete at one point in her life. She was a dancer, she played a little softball, basketball, ran track all four years of high school and also participated in some gymnastics.

Boldridge may be know to be a great tennis player, but the main thing she wanted to be growing up was a gymnast.

Boldridge mainly did tumbling and says she really loved it because she stayed fit that way. At dance recitals she would perform tumbling routines with her group.

Boldridge has three siblings, which all tried playing tennis but she says all three of her siblings did not like it. Her sisters are now big volleyball players and her little brother is a basketball and baseball player.

She started playing tennis around first grade. She played for a couple years, but was forced to put tennis on hold. Boldridge didn’t play tennis until middle school and has been playing ever since. Her favorite tennis players are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

When Boldridge got to high school, she was a member of the track team. She did high jump and triple jump, but was best at triple jump, so she ended up quitting high jump and just sticking with triple jump.

“I qualified for state twice. But, unfortunately, I had bad meets both times, so I didn’t win,” she said.

Her personal record was around 35 feet in triple jump.

Ever since Boldridge’s mother randomly signed her up for tennis lessons, she loved it and never wanted to stop playing.

“I’m really enjoying tennis a lot more this year. Just because we have a full-time coach, who really knows what he’s doing and really understands both the technical and psychological parts of tennis. That really helps us a lot, because most people don’t understand how tough tennis is mentally. Our record right now is 8-5, and we’ve never come close to even winning eight games,” she said.

Boldridge says she really doesn’t have any pre-game rituals besides just listening to music that pumps her up and gives her motivation, but she said she has noticed one thing she does that her other teammates don’t.

“Well, I am the only one on the team who wears the long Nike socks when we wear our shorts. My teammates normally wear low-cut socks, but I will be only one to wear the longer ones,” Boldridge said.

Boldridge has improved tremendously over the years, but mainly gives credit to her coach. She feels like she has gotten a lot better because of coach Chris Canady.

Coach Canady expresses his appreciation for having a player like Ceara.

“Well, Boldridge has been the most consistent player, in terms of her effort and energy. I use the word professionalism to describe her because she’s always where she’s supposed to be. She’s always on time, and she’s been a really good leader for our team,” Canady said.

Coach Canady says, when it comes to matches, Boldridge isn’t one of those players he necessarily has to worry about.

“In matches, there are six matches going on at one time, so as a tennis coach, we can’t be on every court the whole time. There’s certain players who I need to be there for and there are certain players I can trust that the effort and their focus is never going to waiver, and that’s Ceara,” Canady said.

“I never have to go near her court because she is by far the hardest fighter that we have and being the first year here and having a senior that’s like that is huge for the team. She’s not the most vocal when it comes to leadership but she leads by example. So that’s been the nicest part about coaching her. That’s not something I anticipated coming in, having a senior with that kind of mentality. She’s also been very coachable. Having me being her third coach in four years, she’s been very open to coaching and very receptive to it, so that’s been nice as well.”

Boldridge is finishing out her last year on the tennis team for the Griffons.

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