Tommy Pitcher: hard-hitting freshman

Most freshmen have similar goals for their first year of high school – get through the year without being harmed or humiliated by upperclassmen, make some new friends, get involved in a few clubs, and try to maintain decent grades along the way. But some other freshmen have goals that go above and beyond the typical ones. An example of such a freshman is Tommy Pitcher, already a varsity tennis player in his first year. Pitcher has been preparing to take his place in Ames High tennis for the past four years. “I first started playing tennis with my family during the summer. Then, I wanted to take lessons because it was really fun.” Pitcher said. Since those games of tennis in the summer, Pitcher has been involved with club tennis at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center. During his time at Ames Racquet and Fitness, Pitcher met one of his current coaches, Miriam Skrade. Tennis is now the central focus in Pitcher’s life, and he continues to play the sport for reasons besides the fun aspect of it. “I like that tennis is an individual sport; I like that it’s all about what you do. You don’t have a team to fall back on.” Pitcher said. However, Pitcher admitted there were still other perks to playing tennis. “[One of my favorite parts of tennis] is being with Bryan Graveline.” Pitcher said. Now, as Pitcher starts his career on the Ames High boys tennis team, he has made himself known for not only his tennis ability, but also for his fun, free-wheeling personality. “I asked [Tommy] who he wanted for a doubles partner,” Skrade said. “His reponse was, ‘Anybody that’ll do a chest bump with me.’” “Tommy’s a fun type of guy,” Tim Lo, a fellow freshman and Pitcher’s teammate, said. “He doesn’t have very many worries; he’s pretty laid back.” However, Pitcher is not all play and no work; Skrade was also quick to point out Pitcher’s competitive spirit and diligence when playing tennis. “He’s kind of like the clown that keeps everybody having fun, but he can flip a switch.” Skrade said. “As a coach, it’s a great personality to see on your team.” “[Tommy] is a competitor.” junior Nirvan Tyagi said. “He gets really into it; he’s very fiery.” With his tennis experience and lively personality, Pitcher is ready to carry out his goals for the tennis season. “I hope to win a lot of matches and hopefully, help us get to state.” Pitcher said. While this may sound like a lofty goal for a freshman, the boys tennis team has the potential to reach the state tournament with the help of the experienced upperclassmen players, along with quite a few promising freshmen new to the team this year. “[Tommy]’s one of many several talented freshmen coming up and it’ll be fun and exciting to watch them grow as high school players.” Skrade said. Though Tommy Pitcher may still have four years of playing ahead of him, there is no doubt he will be an integral part in the boys tennis team’s journey to state as he brings motivation along with a good sense of humor. “He’ll keep the team having fun, while also giving the necessary depth to the varsity team,” Skrade said. “The team can’t win with just a couple good guys on top.”