For The Tribune
When Shelby Nierman enrolled at Trinity Lutheran High School, she knew she wanted to be involved in athletics, so she joined the tennis team her freshman year and the golf team her sophomore year.
Nierman is in her fourth season in the varsity lineup for the tennis team and played varsity all three years she was on the golf team.
“I’ve just liked being on a team,” Nierman said. “They’ve been really fun, and you have people you can rely on. Brennan (Pollert) was on both teams, and she got me involved in both sports.
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“I played varsity (tennis) all four years because my freshman year there weren’t a lot of girls on the team. I played a lot of No. 2 doubles my freshman year. My sophomore year I played more No. 1 doubles.”
Over the past two years, Nierman has played both singles and doubles. The senior said she is willing to play where she can help the team.
“We’re kind of switching around to see what our best lineup is,” Nierman said. “I like doubles. I like having a partner, and I like playing at the net a lot. That is one of my favorite things.”
Nierman feels that she has a strong set of skills on the court, including forehands and net play.
While playing doubles, communication is essential to success.
“Communication is really important,” she said. “If you don’t let the other person know what you’re going to do, then they’re not going to know. I say ‘Watch it’ a lot when I’m playing. Even if (the ball is) way in I say that. For the people I play with, that is comforting to them because they know they need to watch it.”
For Nierman, it’s a big advantage to get your match off to a good start.
“It’s pretty important to win the first set; because if you win the first set, you have the confidence to win the second set,” she said. “But when you are falling behind in the first set, then you’ll have a lot of trouble to get back into the game.”
This season, Nierman’s playing under first-year girls tennis coach Mark Voss.
“He does a lot of different drills than what we did with coach (Richard) Pollert,” she said. “They’re both really great coaches. They had different ways to coach but they both have done a great job.
“I’m just going to have to work hard to get myself over the hump, get myself over that so I can be better than what I am right now.”
Last fall, Nierman played the No. 3 position on the golf team
“(Shadowood) is a really nice golf course, so I really loved to play there,” Nierman said.
“I’d say putting was probably one of my strongest parts. You definitely have to decide which way it was going to go fast and which way it was going to go slow on the greens.”
Golf was a new sport for her upon arrival to Trinity.
“I had never played golf before I got here,” Nierman said. “It was definitely a learning experience. Golf is something you can do the rest of your life.”
To have success, she said, practice is key.
“Practices are really important,” Nierman said. “When you mess up on something in a match, you can work on it in practice; and then the next time you’re dealing with that problem, you can work on it.
“The mental part is something that I’ve struggled with a lot. If I get down on myself then I do bad. I think it is very important not to get upset with yourself and be confident that you can do well.”
Parents: Brian and Amy Nierman
Siblings: Ryland, Brayton, Camdyn
Sports: tennis 4 years, golf 3 years
Athletic highlights: golf-Cougar Award, tennis-Cougar Award
Home golf matches: “Shadowood is a really nice course so I really loved to play there. Everyone was really nice to us, and they let us use the course whenever we needed to. It was also a lot harder (than the country club), so we got to develop our skills better than what we got to at the country club.”
Favorite hole: No. 17
Hardest hole: “The hardest hole for me was No. 12 where you hit across the water. I just don’t enjoy playing around the water.”
Favorite away courts: Brown County
Organizations: National Honor Society, FFA, 4-H, student ambassador, dance committee.
Plans after high school: Attend Purdue University, major in developmental and family studies.
Attending TLHS: “I made the decision on what I thought would be best for me. I thought it would build my faith and get me prepared for a life outside a Lutheran atmosphere.”
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: “The Fault In Our Stars”
Favorite team: Purdue
Favorite book: “The Book Thief”