KINGMAN – A year ago Gaby Villar could be found in the stands watching her teammates at state.
The Lee Williams High School junior won’t have to deal with the anxiety of wanting to play this season as she’ll join two other Lady Vols today at the Division II Individual State Tennis Tournament at the Phoenix Tennis Center.
“I’m excited for state,” Villar said. “We’ve worked really hard to get where we are. So I think we’re going to do really well.”
Villar will team with Arden Schickner in doubles against Youngker’s Emily Cervantez and Frania Guardian. The Lee Williams duo haven’t played a doubles match this season, but they don’t believe that will be a disadvantage.
“We kind of clicked easily,” Villar said. “It wasn’t really anything that difficult. We had injuries and stuff, so that’s why we had to improvise what we had. She just kind of jumps on it when I don’t have it. We just communicate in that way.”
However, Villar knows the atmosphere at state can be overwhelming with the number of courts and players. Schickner has yet to experience the grandeur of state and she is trying to prepare for that.
“As of right now, I’m alright,” Schickner said Wednesday. “But it’s probably going to hit me when I get there.”
Luckily for her, she has a teammate who knows what she is doing and that will go a long way in the duo finding success on the court.
“Altogether, I’m kind of leaning on her – hoping she’ll guide me a little bit and see how it works out,” Schickner said.
In singles, Paige Cody will represent Lee Williams and battle Dysart’s Ana Arredondo. Similar to Schickner, this will be Cody’s first trip to the state tournament.
Cody said she is excited as well as nervous, but is focusing on getting one point at a time. She still knows it won’t be easy.
“The most difficult part is just making sure I have fun,” Cody said. “I just don’t want to get inside my head. I want to make sure I have fun and play my best.”
No matter how she does, Cody is making sure she enjoys the overall experience.
“It’s definitely an honor,” she said. “I’m really excited that I’m getting to do that. I’m just going to see how I do.”