Tearing it up as a first year
Though it’s only her first year in the sport, Churchill County senior Brynlee Shults is showing great promise for a state run in doubles with the Greenwave tennis team.
The Fallon native pairs with Oasis Academy sophomore Brooklyn Whitaker on the court, standing as one of the top doubles pairs in the region, according to girls’ coach Kristy Bekiares.
“I’m hoping for good things for our No. 1 players going into regionals and state,” the coach said.
Shults has had a blast with tennis. She said her only regret has been not starting it as a freshman. So far this season, Bekiares said Shults and Whitaker have only lost a handful of matches. Bekiares described Shults as a go-getter and she they had no issue putting the senior in competition right away. She said Shults has caught onto the game quickly and her growth has been great to watch.
Whitaker recalled Bekiares originally said she may have to carry Shults in the beginning; the sophomore, however, said the opposite has happened and Shults carries her in matches.
The pair also compliment each other’s skills and experience level. Whitaker was a first-year player last year and they share a competitive nature.
“We just balance each other out skill wise and personality wise; we’re pretty good,” Shults said.
Shults joined the tennis team after a recommendation by Bekiares; she was thinking about joining a fall sport, but was torn between tennis and cross-country. Bekiares encouraged her to try tennis and she quickly became hooked. The coach said her natural athleticism and competitive drive really help Shults on the court.
“They’re just at another level for being a first year player,” she said of the Shults-Whitaker pair.
Shults said she hopes to continue playing tennis going forward, but added it would likely be something she does for fun with friends rather than as a competitive sport. While she does not plan to pursue tennis in college, Shults does hope to compete in track — earlier this year, Shults placed third in the state for the triple jump.
“I’m working with Eric Wilson to become a better athlete for track and further my distance and times this year so I can get recruited for college,” she said.
Shults also has played basketball since her freshman year. In 20 games played over her career, she scored 21 points with 36 rebounds, three assists and nine steals. She has not decided if she will play basketball this year and plans to focus on the track team.
“It depends on where track’s going to take me this winter, whether or not I’ll be able to compete in indoor meets,” she said.
Shults said she has mixed emotions about her senior year and approaching graduation from CCHS. She said she’s sad, since high school is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but she’s also excited to start college next year. Shults said she hopes to go to a college in Utah to study either pre-med or biology.
“I’ve seen the campuses and I like the area, and I just like their teams,” she said.
Shults said sports, and tennis especially, have taught her a lot. She noted she put herself out into an unknown this year and met a “whole new group of people … and expanded (her) friend-zone.”
“It feels good and I’m definitely going to be able to use that skill later in life,” she said.