Staying sharp: Offseason lets Owl bolster game

Hallie Crenshaw helped Seymour High School’s tennis team win a sectional in each of her four years on the team.

The senior credits that success to not only working hard during the season, but also taking lessons during the off-season to improve her game.

“I think taking lessons and playing in the off-season is really important to keep your skills up to where they need to be, and really keep in shape,” Crenshaw said. “I play in tournaments and take lessons from Brad (Emerson) in the summer and really try to improve during that time.”

She said playing in tournaments in Indianapolis and Cincinnati during the summer was a big benefit to her.

“Playing players from Carmel or Fishers you see that advanced competition that sometimes you don’t get in high school,” Crenshaw said. “When the season comes around we have a match almost every day so we don’t have time to practice stuff we need to.”

Crenshaw was a co-captain this season with teammate Megan Baurle.

Crenshaw, who began playing tennis in fifth grade said the tennis team is like a second family.

In her career, Crenshaw played both singles and doubles.

Singles is Crenshaw’s favorite, and she said she believes that a strong start makes a big difference on the court.

“I think winning the first set boosts your confidence,” Crenshaw said. “With the second set, a lot of times, you drop the first game and it just happens but it can really hurt you if you lose that first set. It depends on your attitude. If you lose the first set sometimes it encourages you to win the second, and then get the third set as well.”

She played No. 2 singles her freshman and sophomore seasons before moving up to No. 1 singles the past two seasons.

“A lot of times they just hit the ball more solid, and you can just tell that they’ve had more experience,” she said about facing No. 1 players. “They can just put a lot more power behind it.”

On the schedule, Crenshaw preferred playing at home on the week days.

“I think I enjoy the weekdays better because I know a lot of times at the tournaments, these past few years you just go out and play matches,” Crenshaw said. “Megan, Addie (Rudge) and I, being some of the top players, we don’t really get to spend much time with the other teammates.

“You’re on, and then you’re off for 20 minutes and you spend that time eating, drinking water and refreshing yourself, and going back on. You don’t have much time to bond with your teammates.”

During the spring months, Crenshaw said the wind is definitely a factor.

“Serving-wise I like being with the wind because you can hit it really hard or hit it barely at all and it goes really hard,” she said. ” I usually have to play around and see if I can lob it or if I have to hit lower shots and see what the wind will do to it. I get a feel for what the wind is doing.”

Crenshaw said her forehand is definitely her strength.

“My forehand is definitely my comfort zone,” she said. “My backhand has gotten a lot better over the years. My serves have gotten better during the years, too. That’s one of my strengths.”

Before a match started, Crenshaw tried to learn about her opponent during warmups before a match.

“In the warmups I try to see what their strengths and weaknesses are, like if they’re good at short balls or approach shots, and if they have a good backhand. I especially watch out for their backhand to see it that’s a major weakness for them,” she said.

Outside of tennis, among the many organizations Crenshaw was involved in, she was a drum major.

“My favorite thing about being drum major was being up on the ladder and seeing all those shows come together,” Crenshaw said. “Those were my favorite. Being drum major introduced me to everyone in the band. During freshman fundamentals the last two years, I challenged myself to know the first names of all the freshman by the first week.”

She said she is glad she chose to attend Seymour for the sports and academics.

“All of my friends came here,” Crenshaw said. “I had a good group of friends so I wanted to stay with them. I got in with a really good friend group that is supportive. We all take the same classes and that has made it enjoyable. I was involved with band, and Ethan really had a good experience here. So that is why I chose this school.”

Crenshaw file

Name: Hallie Crenshaw

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Chris and Leighana Crenshaw

Siblings: Ethan, Molly

Sports: tennis 4 years

Athletic highlights: 4-time sectional champions, 2015 HHC champions, 2016 MVP and mental attitude

Organizations: National Honor Society, Band drum major, 2017 John Phillip Sousa Award, Biology Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4H

Plans after high school: attend Indiana Wesleyan University to major in athletic training and pre-physical therapy

Favorite food: ice cream

Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy

Favorite musicians: For King and Country

Favorite movie: Moana

Favorite team: University of Kentucky

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