Danville girls tennis coach Ryan Adams had a bit of a pleasant surprise — and a dilemma — when he went to nominate players for the Danville Office Equipment Scholar-Athlete of the Week.
Athletes must have at last a 3.5 grade-point average to qualify. However, Adams found that every player on his team had a 3.8 or higher GPA.
“Our average GPA was a 4.3. I was amazed,” the coach said. “They work so hard at their academics. This team works as hard on the tennis court as they do in the classroom. They have each found the proper balance between a rigorous academic schedule and what is required to be successful on the court.”
Hannah Frankel leads the team with a 4.73 GPA. Next is Meredith Frankel at 4.7 and Fariha Siddiqui at 4.64.
“Fariha has been accepted to Governor’s Scholars Program, which is a very prestigious program with an extremely rigorous selection process,” Adams said.
She’s also on the quick recall team and is obviously a National Honor Society member. Siddiqui, who also played soccer, volunteers at the Community Arts Center and the Ephraim McDowell Foundation Surgery Center.
Hannah Frankel, another academic team member, belongs to the Spanish Club and National Honor Society. She is active in the Presbyterian Church youth group. Meredith Frankel is a member of the Danville concert and marching bands and was part of the orchestra for the school’s “Beauty and the Beast” musical. She’s also in Spanish Club and National Honor Society.
Abagail Zaman checks in with a 4.43 GPA, while Karina Angel and Laura Couzens are both at 4.29. Others over 4.0 are Jodi Gay (4.28), Mey Mey Kong (4.14) and Grace Caudill at (4.14).
“My team is currently enrolled in 35 honors or advanced placement classes,” Adams said. “The players spend a majority of travel time discussing class assignments. There have been many road trips where I’ve looked for a player because it was time for them to play, and they had to put down their homework before they went on the court.”
But Adams understands that’s not a bad thing at all.
“It is so fun coaching a group of student-athletes like this when my focus can be on preparing for matches instead of worrying about eligibility issues and classroom behavior,” he said. “Each one of them is a great representative of the tennis program and Danville High School due to their success in the classroom, positive behavior, high attendance, and just the way they have fun as a team.
“They show such maturity handling the day-to-day challenges of the classroom which carries over to how they handle the adversity on the tennis court. These girls are used to challenging themselves every day at school. It still amazes me how they can challenge themselves to the level they do on the tennis court.”
Nine of his 11 players will graduate next year and take their high academic performances to college and leave Adams to cherish the memories he’ll have of them.
“While I’ll get to enjoy coaching them for another year, I hate the thought of losing this group of girls. I tell them a lot, ‘I couldn’t hand-pick a better group of players, that goes for in the classroom as well as on the court,’” he said.