BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Annie Phillips grew up wanting to be a tennis champion and made good on that dream this past fall.
Now, she’s onto her latest honor. The Niskayuna High School senior is the Silver Warriors’ female designee for the Suburban Council’s Excellence in Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.
Phillips won the Section II girls’ singles tennis title back in October, but this league award honors her for displaying strong character on and off the tennis court. She was honored at a June 15 dinner for this award, along with the nominees from other schools in the Suburban Council.
Garrett Whitley joins Phillips — who will attend Siena and play tennis there — as Niskayuna’s male nominee. Whitley has starred for the high school baseball team for four seasons and was a first-round pick in this month’s Major League Baseball amateur draft.
“It’s really cool that I’m getting the same award as Garrett,” Phillips said.
Your Niskayuna recently caught up with Phillips to talk about her tennis career and winding down at Niskayuna High School:
Q: How did you get started with tennis?
A: My dad’s a big tennis player. He got me started. I started playing as soon as I could get a racket in my hand. My dad took me all over the place (to play), but Central Park in Schenectady is pretty much where I grew up.
Q: What is it that you enjoy about tennis?
A: I’ve always liked ball and bat sports. Anything with a ball, I was pretty good at growing up. When I was little, my parents let me play every sport I could. I did ice skating, baseball, soccer — but tennis was the one I was best at.
Q: After playing for so long, what was it like to win this past fall’s Section II tennis title?
A: I’d been working toward that since I was 12 years old in the seventh grade, my first year of varsity. That was always my goal, and now I’m really excited to move onto college tennis.
Q: What’s it like to be on the verge of graduating high school?
A: I don’t feel like I’m done. I feel like I should still be going to school here (laughs). I had great teachers for all four years. They all really cared about how I did. They’d always ask about my tennis, and when I got my scholarship to Siena they were all so supportive.