By Kyle Daubs

Emily Stortzum will admit it. She has probably broken a few rules.

Amidst COVID-19, there have been calls for lockdowns and quarantine. For this Mattoon High School senior, she will be the first to admit that she has likely been playing more tennis than she should.

“I’ve been having more time to play more tennis,” said Stortzum. “I haven’t been quarantining as much as I should be. I have been out on the courts playing as much as I can.”

Surely, the work is music to any coach’s ears, especially when Stortzum is one-half of the double team that qualified for state last year. Stortzum and senior teammate Tess Huene finished third at the Effingham St. Anthony Sectional last year, which included an Apollo Conference championship as a doubles team.

Now, with a full season of success under their belt, the future looks bright for the promising pair.

“Playing with her is pretty great,” said Stortzum. “We work well together. Every team has their flaws, but we push through them and I know that we can do great things.”

When it comes to 2020, Stortzum is optimistic about having a season and wants to replicate those great things one more time.

“I’m hoping that our team can come more together,” said Stortzum. “I’ve noticed we have split a lot of time between JV and varsity. I’m hopeful we can do more team bonding so we can win the Apollo like last year.”

Of course, that is assuming that there will be a tennis season. While other sports have required a year of a face mask, Stortzum called it “overkill” to wear a mask during matches.

“I think that’s overkill to wear a face mask during tennis,” said Stortzum. “I’ve heard talk about having your own set of balls. That would be a great idea, so that you are not touching each other’s germs. Of course, you have your own racket to pick up, so there wouldn’t be too much worry there.”

When it comes to spectators and the 50-person limit rule, Stortzum said it might be hard to keep some fans out.

“For fans, it might be hard trying to restrict parents from watching their children play,” said Stortzum. “It might be a hard factor overall, but it could be a positive outcome if it helps keep people safe and it allows us to play.”

Moving forward, Stortzum knows that quarantining may not go away from the next month as we heads towards starting school. What she does know, is that she is going to find time for tennis.

“I understand a lot of people are still quarantining,” said Stortzum. “I haven’t had much contact with others on the team, which I understand. They are quarantining or working, which I understand because I also work. I also am going to find time to get in some tennis.”

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