by Jack Lorenz, Sports Reporter

Junior Connor Genshaw has never really known what it’s like to not have a tennis racket in his hand. For the past thirteen years, Connor has spent countless hours on the court practicing to become one of the top tennis players in the state of Michigan.

Connor has not done all of this on his own, however. Connor has had many people help him on his journey to become the successful player that he is. Connor credits his personal coach Alex Palladino, who was previously the head tennis coach at Ferris State University, as being a main source of encouragement.

“My coach has brought me to the level I am at now,” Connor said. “Alex is continuing to push my game to the next level.”

The Rangers varsity tennis head coach Dan Bolhouse has taken notice to these changes in Connor’s tennis game and has been pleased with the results. Bolhouse has not lost a state title since he has taken over the Ranger tennis program, and cites Connor as a valuable asset to a few of those titles.

“Connor has been playing 1 singles since his freshman year,” Bolhouse said. “This year he has really improved the power and pace on his shots.  He continues to get stronger mentally as he matures.”

Connor plays in the first singles flight for the Rangers, which means he has to play the best singles player from opposing teams. This is quite the task with the schedule the Rangers have.  FHC plays Brother Rice, Midland Dow and many of the other top teams in the state.

“It is awesome to play against some of the best kids in the state,” Connor said. “I really like having competition. Playing against some of these kids in off season tournaments really improves my game.”

These off season tournaments are USTA tournaments that are played all over the country and range in levels of competition. Connor also practices with some of the other top players in the area and scrimmages with them frequently.

He  is looking to continue his tennis career past high school and into college.  Currently, Connor is ranked the sixth best player in the state of Michigan and has gained a lot of interest from several Division One schools.

“I am looking to play college tennis,” Connor said “The University of Wisconsin and Washington University in Saint Louis are definitely on the top of my list.”

For now, he must focus on his high school tennis and in particular, the state tournament. The Rangers are coming off back to back state titles and are looking for a third.

“I would never say a player is going to go out and easily win a State Championship,” Bolhouse said. “However, knowing Connor and his ability, he has all of the tools necessary to win the 1st singles flight this year.”

Connor is well liked by his teammates and brings a great atmosphere to the team. Each year he has become more vocal and helps others when they struggle. Connor also shows great work ethic, practicing each and every day to improve his game. Junior Michael Battiste, Connor’s teammate, is just one member of the team who has noticed Connor’s hard work pay off.

“I think that Connor will have a very successful career,” Michael said. “If he keeps working at it, and surrounds himself with the right people, Connor will go far.”