West Columbia, SC - When an athlete is honored for the sport she loves, it’s “icing on the cake.”
That’s exactly how Brookland-Cayce High tennis player Madison Conwell described being named WLTX News19 Player of the Week, which will be broadcast at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1. She was presented a jacket and plaque Tuesday at the school, surrounded by her tennis teammates and fellow Brookland-Cayce athletes.
Her latest honor comes just a day after she was selected for the North-South Girls Tennis Team.
The 18-year-old senior started playing tennis at age 8 -- and has never looked back. After graduation, she hopes to attend Erskine College and has given a verbal commitment to play tennis there. She wants to major in sports management.
Christopher Simpson, who has been Conwell’s high school coach for six years, said her greatest attribute as a player is consistency.
“Everything in tennis is about consistency -- even at the pro level. The way Madison practices, serves, hits ground strokes and volleys are all so consistent,” Simpson said. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication -- and sacrifice -- to become a ranked player with the ability to play NCAA tennis.”
She is a good example for fellow players on the Brookland-Cayce team, Simpson said.
“Madison brings leadership and guidance to the younger players,” Simpson said. “She is one of the three seniors this year, so she is a natural leader for the team. Being the No. 1 seed on the team also brings with it a natural position of leadership. Madison is an excellent player for the younger players to watch, because they see how hard work and dedication to their craft can bring consistency and a high level of play. This is an important lesson for teens both on and off the court.”
The District recently asked Conwell about how she came to love tennis and what the WLTX honor means to her.
Q: You started playing tennis at age 8. How did you know it was the game for you?
A: “From the moment I started with my first lesson and clinic, I fell in love with it. The challenge and physical part of it was just something I could relate to. My coach at the time was very positive and kept me focused and encouraged me to set goals and to achieve them. She picked me up when I was frustrated and showed me the way to lose gracefully and to win gracefully.”
Q: What have you learned about the game in your time playing at Brookland-Cayce?
A: “You play all types of players. So strategy plays a big part in the game. And also to display good sportsmanship on and off the courts.”
Q: How do your teammates help you better your game?
A: “They help keep me focused and always cheer me on.”
Q: Do you have any routines before a match?
A: “Stretch really well and do some light hitting and soft serves.”
A: “I don’t listen to music before a match; I usually just try to get mentally focused.”
A: “Substation # 14, salt vinegar chips and blue Gatorade.”
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about the game?
A: “Patience is the key in tennis.”
Q: What advice would you have for other young girls coming up into tennis?
A: “Give it time. Tennis is a sport that requires lots of practice and commitment. You have to be willing to give up some things on the weekend but the results in the end are priceless.”
Q: What does winning WLTX News19 Player of the Week mean to you?
A: “It means everything. To have a coach that believes in me and took the time to nominate me, I am honored. To be recognized for a sport that I love and have been blessed by God with a talent, it is just the icing on the cake. I would like to thank WLTX for selecting me with this award and allowing me to show my love and others the sport of tennis.”