For The Tribune

Jonathan Valasquez started playing tennis during his seventh-grade year at a school in San Diego, California.

After a move, he played baseball for two years and soccer for one year at Seymour, then decided to give tennis a try prior to his junior year.

He played No. 2 doubles most of this season but moved to No. 1 doubles against Brownstown Central and played one match each at No. 2 and No. 3 singles.

“I liked singles; you can definitely tell a talent difference when you go to No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles,’ Valasquez said.

“No. 2 doubles was fun, though. I liked playing with my partner, Sam (Schmidt). He helped me a lot this year and was real energetic. Doubles showed you a lot about teamwork, and since I do want to join the military it shows the importance of communication and having a connection whoever your person is.”

Valasquez said it is essential to communicate throughout a doubles match.

“I remember our first match against Scottsburg,” Valasquez said. “They beat us 7-5, 6-0 and it was just a lack of communication because that was our first match that we played together because I was out with a back injury against Providence.

“Our communication definitely improved. We had a couple third-set meltdowns that made our record look not as well as we played this year.”

Valasquez said it was important to get off to a good start.

“There were only three matches (going into the sectional) we hadn’t won the first set in all my games that I played at doubles,” Valasquez said. “I think we were more improved this year than we were last year at No. 2 doubles.”

Since he had a stronger backhand than his partner, Valasquez played on the ad court, or left side.

He said he tried to learn a lot about the opponents during warmups.

“You have to see where they lacked the most because a lot of those kids have been playing for many years,” Valasquez said. “Any time you’re in a varsity sport you’re a good player. I make sure I hit it to their forehand a couple times, and I’ll hit it to their backhand a couple times and pay attention to their serves and volleys.

“I like to play on the baseline, but I’ll charge the net if I have to. I made some mistakes on the overheads; I just got too excited and swing too quickly, but Coach Jennifer (Miller) helped me with that.”

For Valasquez, a positive outlook plays key in all sports.

“You just have to have the mindset of not being afraid to make a mistake,” Valasquez said. “That’s where, at the beginning of the season, I lacked. I was playing a little too timid. As the season progressed I could tell I got more aggressive and I was ready to take those shots.”

At a glance

Name: Jonathan Valasquez

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Luvia Hesser, Shannon Hesser

Sibling: Elanis

Sports: Tennis, two years; baseball, two years; soccer, one year

Organizations: Chess Club

Plans after high school: Join U.S. Navy

Favorite food: Bacon

Favorite TV show: “Family Guy”

Favorite musicians: Logic, Eminem

Favorite movie: “Back to the Future”

Favorite athlete: Russell Wilson

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.