Sophomore sensations bolster Rocklin tennis team

Bothe, Yates step up
By: Amanda Calzada/Placer Herald Correspondent
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If getting into the swing of things was a sport, then Rocklin sophomores Anna Bothe and Lexi Yates would have nailed a new dimension of tennis. “I never thought I could make such a drastic jump,” said Bothe, who is the Thunders’ No. 3 player. Yates, who held the No. 6 singles spot at the beginning of the season has advanced to No. 5. Although underclassmen, Yates and Bothe said they don’t let the accomplishments go to their head. “Arrogance makes someone ugly on the inside,” said Yates, whose season goals are to always play her hardest and to be considerate. Bothe, who said anything can change on a dime, added that her season goals are to stay humble and grateful while focusing on improvement each match. Freshmen last year, the two started that season as the No. 3 doubles team on the junior varsity. They eventually worked their way up to No. 2 and No. 3 in JV singles. The pair shared “awesome handshakes” and Yates liked working as a team. Both agree they know what to say to each other during pep talks. They consider their strengths to be endurance and consistency. Together, they can hold a 121 ball rally. In between this season at last, the girls played tennis four days a week from December to August at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville. They took one week off during that eight month period. “If you slack off a day, it’ll show,” said Bothe, who advised not to over think things. The girls are thankful for the support of Sierra View coach Brad Harris. They also expressed appreciation of Thunder coach Dale Eckenburg who keeps them humble. “I can’t say enough about the hard work Anna and Lexi have brought to the team.” Eckenburg “They never put down the racquet from last season and it really has showed with their move up the ladder.” Yates is also grateful for the support of her first coach, Kevin Fennelly, and her parents who never complain about her tennis schedule. Bothe is appreciative of the unconditional support of her parents as well. Last season, the girls enjoyed the team experience of school sports. Bothe said the trips the varsity team took motivated her to step up her game. Bothe and Yates recently returned from a team trip to San Luis Obispo where they were partners in ocean kayaking during the team-bonding activity. Yates, although she played tennis as a child, did not start training competitively until eighth grade. As a gymnast, she sought an activity in which she could stay active but avoid injuries. Her older brother was a tennis player and inspired her to take up the game. She decided to attend a tennis camp the summer before entering the ninth grade and invited Bothe. Bothe had also played tennis at an early age but was interested in ballet. She didn’t give the sport much thought until Yates’ invitation. In the eighth grade, they met through mutual friends and have grown their relationship through tennis. They dream of playing together in college as roommates. “She’s like my other half,” said Bothe. “And vice versa,” added Yates.