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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Undefeated Jenni DeWitt looking toward state

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sikesotn sophomore Jenni DeWitt prepares to serve.
SIKESTON - The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs tennis team will send one participant to the Class 1 state tournament in singles play as Jenni DeWitt will open play at state on Friday in Springfield.

DeWitt went 18-0 in the regular season and hopes to continue her winning ways. To do that, DeWitt stresses that her serve will be key to her success.

"Getting my serves in is the biggest part of my game," said Jenni. "Worked hard in camp this summer in Texas to improve my serve and to get more consistent."

DeWitt plays a serve and volley style of tennis and it is crucial that her serve is on. With a good serve, the opponent will be back on her toes and DeWitt takes advantage by rushing the net for an opportunity for winners.

Coach Lynne DeWitt has been pleased with the play of Jenni and points to her increased play in the summer.

Jenni DeWitt works on her net play.
"She (Jenni) played a lot over the summer in the John Newcombe Camp in Texas and worked to improve her stamina on the court," said coach DeWitt.

Besides working on her serves, Jenni has put some time in on her backhand to make it a more lethal part of her game.

"I trained at least an hour a day on my backhand at the camp and my approach shot has also improved," said Jenni.

Coach DeWitt points to the increased strength of Jenni to her improvement in her game.

"She just got stronger from this year to last year," said coach DeWitt. "She has gotten more patient and that is a big part of the game in girls tennis."

Jenni does confide that she prefers to play at the net than work from the baseline. That is in stark contrast of most high school players as most prefer to play from the baseline.

On her hopes for this weekend's tennis tournament, Jenni is not overconfident and just wants to compete hard against good competition.

"My main goal is just to win my first match," said Jenni. "Last year I lost a tough first round match against a girl who went on to place third at state. So I just want to come out and play well in the first match and hopefully win and go from there."

To be undefeated and advance to state, one can't sit around eating potato chips and drinking sodas. No, it takes hard work and dedication and both are in ample supply for Jenni.

"I did fitness training every morning at camp," said DeWitt. "I do the S.E.T. program at Health Facilities here in town. That includes weight training, speed and endurance and working on flexibility in the program. It has helped me with agility and lateral movements and my quickness has improved."

Coach DeWitt gives credit to the coordinator of Health Facilities, Kent Schott, for having such a wonderful program for Jenni to participate in.

Tennis has been a staple in Jenni's life since age five and she continually plays to keep improving. She plays five days a week against college-level competition to keep her at her best.

"I want to play at a Division I school in college," said DeWitt.

The tennis state tournament will begin on Friday with exact match times to be determined.