“Love” is a tennis term that refers to a score of zero, but for Allie Mackay, it’s so much more than that.
Mackay has spent the last two years on her high school’s tennis team, and her love of the game has done nothing but grow over the last five years.
Mackay, a junior at Alta High School in Sandy, didn’t have a life-long passion for the sport. Rather, her passion for tennis culminated over a few years, and really picked up in the past two or three.
“I wasn’t very serious and didn’t even like it that much,” said Mackay, continuing to explain how she didn’t anticipate being a high school athlete. “My friend was the one who convinced me to take lessons and then later try out.”
Although it took a push, Mackay hasn’t regretted her decision, and loves the friends she has made through the sport and how it’s helped her self esteem.
Mackay spent her sophomore year on Alta’s X team, a group of alternates, and moved on to play second doubles on the junior varsity team this past year.
The summer before her sophomore year, Mackay took group lessons four times a week and credits that “very generous” coach for her ability to make the team.
“[He] did it for free as long as I had good grades,” explained Mackay.
Though those grades appear to come easy to Mackay, finding the balance between school, the tennis team and a social life is no easy feat.
Mackay’s sister Lindsay Mackay is proud of her sister’s dedication and has seen Mackay’s ability to balance school and tennis firsthand, stating “she’s a straight A student. Always has been.”
Mackay maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking advanced courses, but expressed that she was always scrambling to get things finished and found it difficult to achieve the perfect balance.
“My social life was limited to school and tennis. I would talk to my friends at school and then talk to my tennis friends. I rarely had time to make plans with friends.”
Alta’s coach Camille Baird reflected this struggle, stating that balancing everything is one of the hardest parts about being a student athlete. However, in her opinion, Mackay is “pretty balanced.”
The balancing act has certainly paid off. Mackay has noted multiple instances when she was able to come back in a tough game.
Baird’s statistics show that Mackay and her partner played 6 qualifying games and were 3-3 overall. Despite the scores, Baird noted that Mackay’s biggest athletic hurdle lies in strategy and having a good mental game when playing those difficult teams.
Overall, Mackay’s passion has grown, and Baird has also seen her confidence grow over the course of her career on the tennis team.
Even though Mackay has had to deal with what her sister refers to as “politics that come with the team,” she has still shown that the love of the sport and a tenacity for success can take you far.
“I am working very hard this winter to do my very best next season. I intend to play varsity and have a good season.”
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