Twins Kelli and Marie Armes have played different sports while attending Seymour High School, but by the end of their freshman year, they both chose the same favorite sport: Tennis.

The sisters said they began playing tennis in middle school and took lessons from former Owls coach Brad Emerson and played at Tipton Lakes in Columbus.

“It’s my favorite sport because it’s a lot of fun and it’s mental and physical,” Marie said. “You have to rely on yourself, but I play doubles, so you have to rely on your teammate, too. Mentally and physically, you have to prepare for the ball. There’s different strokes and different things that you can always try.”

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The two have played on the same side of the court at times for the Owls.

“We played together a few matches at the beginning of the season, but then Kelli went to singles,” Marie said. “It’s a lot of fun having Kelli on the team because we can always practice together, and we’re partners when we warm up, so it’s really nice, and we know how each other hits.”

Kelli added, “Last year, I played No. 2 doubles and No. 3 singles once. This year, I started off doubles with my sister, and then I switched to singles, and I’ve done No. 3 singles for a lot of the matches now.”

While she prefers singles, Kelli enjoys playing with her sister.

“I like playing doubles with (Marie),” Kelli said. “I know if I was down, she would get me up. She is really funny, and it’s a lot of fun playing with her. We make jokes all the time.”

For Marie, doubles trumps singles.

She plays on the ad-side of the court since she’s a lefty.

During points, Marie likes to grind games out at the baseline.

“I love doubles because you have someone to play with, you have someone to laugh with and it makes it go by quicker, and you don’t get down as much,” Marie said. “Communication is very important in doubles because you have to know who’s going for the ball and where the other person’s at on the court, what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

Kelli’s strategy varies from match to match.

“I stay back at first just to kind of see out the player and see if they go short,” Kelli said. “At the Shelbyville tournament, in my first match, I had to go up more and charge the net because I found out and my coach told me (my opponent) was pretty weak if I went up to the net. It helped me win.

Both girls think that winning the first set gives you a big lift mentally.

“I think it’s really important to win the first set because then mentally you’re more prepared to go into the second set,” Marie said. “Even if you lose the first set, you can always come back, and that gives you more motivation to come back.”

On the schedule, the sisters look forward to playing on their home courts.

“I like home matches. The atmosphere is really nice,’” Marie said. “We have a lot (10) courts, which is good so everyone gets the opportunity to play, and we don’t have to wait as long to get on. I like Shelbyville’s courts, and I do like Brown County.”

Marie said she likes both the weekday matches and the Saturday tournaments.

“I like the weekday matches because you can focus on one team and get it over with. You can watch everybody and you don’t have any stress about your next match. I also like weekend tournaments because you get closer to your team, and you’re out there and you really get to see how much you’ve improved, and how good a shape you’re in,” she said.

Outside of matches, the twins know the importance of hard work.

“Practice is definitely important because it gets you ready for the match and the different shots. Also, if there is wind during practice, you get that practice with the wind, so it helps you during the match,” Kelli said.

“The mindset is very important because if you get down on yourself or mad at yourself, then that affects how you play, and you go on a losing streak and you get down, and you can’t really get back up then,” she said.

Both girls said they try to learn a lot about their opponents during warmups.

“I try to learn how they serve, how fast their serves are and where I need to be at, and I also try to learn how they conduct themselves with their body language,” Marie said.

The two have enjoyed attending Seymour for the past four years.

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot. My mom (Jamie) is a teacher here, so that’s a lot of fun,” Kelli said. “We use her classroom as a locker. I love all the opportunities that there is like the AP classes. It’s a lot of fun.

“I’ve got memories of all the friends I’ve made and playing the different sports. I’ve enjoyed cross-country and tennis, just trying new things and making friends. I encourage everyone to go out and try a sport and do new things.”

Marie added, “I’ve enjoyed being a student here at SHS. There are a lot of great classes that I’ve been able to take and try new things. I made a lot of new friends, and all the teachers are really supportive, and they make class fun. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had here, and being part of the team and all the teammates I’ve had.”

Armes files

Name: Marie Armes

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Jamie and John Armes

Sibling: Kelli

Sports: Tennis, four years; basketball, one year

Organizations: National Honor Society, archery, show choir, Key Club, Environmental Club

Plans after high school: Attend college, major in exploratory studies

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite TV show: “The Middle”

Favorite movie: “Catch Me if You Can”

Name: Kelli Armes

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Jamie and John Armes

Sibling: Marie

Sports: Tennis, four years; cross-country, 1 year; volleyball, one year; archery, two years

Organizations: National Honor Society, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Environmental Club, archery, choir

Favorite food: Peanut butter

Favorite TV show: “Friends”

Favorite movie: “Eight Below”

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