by Nicole Oh | Staff Writer
The Pirates opened up their 2018 tennis season mid-February in Lewiston, Idaho and are now on a mission to get to the Northwest Conference Tournament in April. The top four teams in the conference will qualify. This past weekend the Pirates played against the College of Idaho. On Saturday and Sunday the pirates faced Highline Community College and Community Colleges of Spokane.
Emma Jo Wiley is a junior from Fort Collins, Colorado majoring in health science and Spanish in addition to being a member of the Whitworth women’s tennis team for three years. Some of her hobbies include swimming and camping. Wiley has been playing tennis for ten years, ever since she was in middle school. Wiley’s mom, who also played tennis in college, exposed Wiley to the game and encouraged her to get out and play as well. She absolutely fell in love with the game, Wiley said. Her biggest accomplishment so far would be placing second at the state match her junior year of high school.
“One of my favorite parts of being on this team is the atmosphere with all of the girls. We are such a small team and that allows us to really get to know each other and cheer each other on. It makes an individual sport a team sport,” Wiley said.
There are 11 women on the team this season.
“Every year during spring break our team travels to California,” Wiley said. “It allows us play tennis, hangout on the beach, and grow together as team. It is always a highlight.”
Wiley is excited for the 2018 season and what it will bring both individually and for the team. One of the biggest challenges she faces is the mental aspect of the sport.
“When you’re out there competing you’re all alone, and it is can be frustrating to stay mentally tough sometimes. It is just you and your thoughts. We love when people come out to support. It helps us mentally and is tons of fun,” stated Wiley.
The Pirates will be playing again March 2 at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon at 2 p.m. Their next home game will be March 10 and 11 facing Lewis & Clark and George Fox.