Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser’s tennis team is coming into a new season with strong ambitions.
“It feels great to finally be back,” coach Norrin Lau said. For the last few years, Kaiser Tennis didn’t have enough players to field a full team. But this year, they have a full team of boys and girls, which Lau is incredibly optimistic about. Out of all the 25 years he has coached, “this is probably the strongest girls team I’ve ever had,” he said. Many of the older players have also been working hard and trained off-season, and Lau is proud of their progress.
Junior Aureana Wong is one of these older players, and like her other teammates, have been ecstatic to be back. During the off-season due to COVID-19, she used the time to continue practicing, bettering her skills and technique. “I learned that I can’t take the sport for granted.,” Wong said. COVID-19 opened her eyes to opportunities to believe in herself more and grow as a player; as an aspiring collegiate athlete, she knows that she has to raise her level of play, and Kaiser Tennis is the place for her to do that. Wong is glad to be with her coach and team, and is excited to play in matches against others.
The Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) season started on April 17 and will be in session for five weeks. Although the tennis team only has this short season, they’re looking forward to a freshly started journey. Before the pandemic, the team usually challenged the winners from OIA East and OIA West Divisions to qualify for the state tournament. This year, they’re playing among the OIA East teams only, but the change is inconsequential. “Just like how the students are anxious to get into the classroom, the players are just anxious to get back on the court,” Lau said.
Kaiser Tennis membership has rallied this year, and hopes to continue the trend into years to come.