As the rain began to fall, the matches were halted. There was going to be a delay. Girls from both schools scurried off the tennis courts to gather their belongings. The Eastlake players were headed to the commons area of Eastlake High School. But among the Woodinville players, the debate was underway: Commons area or bus?
Majority rule determined that they’d seek refuge on the team bus.
So the gaggle of Lady Falcons made their way across the parking lot and boarded the school bus with gusto.
Standing outside with a reporter, Woodinville coach Jay McGinnes discussed his team this season.
“They’ve been very competitive,” McGinnes said. “The surprise is that the team is doing quite well [with the win-loss record] despite the lack of senior leadership. I’m excited to see how well the underclassmen have done.”
Suddenly, the doors to the bus swung open. The Lady Falcons piled back out with the same fervor with which they’d boarded five minutes earlier.
“Well look who has changed their minds,” McGinnes said aloud in a playfully mocking tone.
The girls laughed as they charged in unison toward the nearby school building.
“It was too hot on the bus, it got very humid,” Woodinville’s Kat Perez said. “We wanted to go in there because we thought it would be more fun because we would be closer. But then the windows fogged up immediately and it got too hot.”
As the lone senior on the team, Kathreen “Kat” Perez has enjoyed her leadership role this year.
“It’s been kind of just small extra things,” Perez said. “Coming early to set up the courts and get the water so underclassmen don’t have to do it. It feels like because I’m a senior I kind of have to do those things to be a good example for the underclassmen.”
Perez has a brother named Daniel who is two years older and attends the University of Washington at the Bothell campus. He has spent time with his sister helping her practice her tennis game.
“I started to play when I was in 9th grade,” Kat Perez said. “Ever since I started playing tennis we would stay for two hours after practice. It was super nice of him to do that. It has helped me get better.”
Despite a roster with just one senior and a dozen freshmen, the Lady Falcons are 3-4 in KingCo 4A and 5-4 overall.
“I do believe the season has been a success because going into the year I didn’t think we would be as good as we are,” Perez said. “We had so many seniors last year who then went on to college. But everyone has stepped up this season to fill those roles.
“But the best part I think is to develop close relationships with each other and bond,” Perez said. “I really think the relationships you make when you play is better than any championship you can win.”