Profile: Litz says player safety a priority

Darius Livingston, Sports Editor

When former tennis player and parent Gayle Litz applied to coach the tennis team, she had two goals in mind: winning league and fundraising enough money to ensure the safety of the players.

“I would love to win league,” Litz said. Although the girls team fell short of that goal with a season record of 5-5, Litz said, “I am very proud of the successes of the girls’ team.”

Litz is not the only one who had high ambitions for the tennis team. Many players shared mutual feelings.

“I feel like we could have done better but we had a lot of beginners that coach Litz had to bring up to speed,” junior Jasmin Tran said. “However, I perceive it as a successful season overall and I expect us to be much better next year.”

Litz has made changes in the program during her short tenure, fundraising enough to supply the tennis team with new benches and storage space.

“Coach Litz got new benches and a new storage for the program, which is really convenient because we can now store our equipment at school instead of carrying to each of our classes every day,” senior Maxim Chiao said.

Litz plans to fundraise even more, especially for ways to increase the safety of players.

“Our courts are full of cracks and weeds,” Litz said. “For safety and playability, that needs to be addressed.”

However, even with fundraising, providing enough funds to resurface tennis courts is a long shot.

“I’m not sure what the cost to resurface the courts is, but that kind of improvement is done through the school district,” Litz said. “It will be up to the district to decide… we can put some pressure on them to make it a priority with our phone calls.”

Resurfacing the courts is not only a priority for coach Litz but to the players as well.

“It’s kind of hard playing on the courts,” senior Daniel Barajas said. “I try to focus on the match as much as possible but that becomes difficult when I have to constantly worry about where I step.”

One issue Litz won’t need to address is players grades. In fact, Litz views grades as one of her biggest accomplishments.

“Academically, these are some of the best students on campus and it is a pleasure to be their coach,” Litz said.

After a solid women’s tennis season, Litz is eager to start the men’s season.

“The boys team has just begun conditioning and they are working very hard,” Litz said. “I am impressed with how they are helping and encouraging each other.”

Litz plans to continue to improve these kids lives on and off the court, giving them lessons that can be applied to the game and to life as well.

“I was fortunate to have great coaches throughout my life and I’m hoping to give back some of the things I’ve learned about respect, hard work, teamwork, and school spirit,” Litz said.