Tennis player faces opposition from MSHSAA upon returning to the Bruins

+Senior+Maddy+Kayser+remains+focused+on+the+court+during+her+junior+year+in+order+to+prepare+for+her+senior+playing+year.+However%2Cdifficulty+arose+when+she+found+out+she+was+no+longer+MSHSAA+eligible.+

Senior Maddy Kayser remains focused on the court during her junior year in order to prepare for her senior playing year. However,difficulty arose when she found out she was no longer MSHSAA eligible.

Kaitlyn Marsh

Senior Maddy Kayser remains focused on the court during her junior year in order to prepare for her senior playing year. However, difficulty arose when she found out she was no longer MSHSAA eligible.

After returning from their first two state championships, the girls varsity tennis team had to face the beginning of their season missing one of their top senior leaders.

.Senior Maddy Kayser ranked third on the girls’ varsity tennis team after playing on it since her freshman year. However, after transferring to an academy in Texas for a semester last year, upon returning, she was no longer Missouri State High School Activities Association eligible to play on the RBHS varsity team.

Junior Sophi Farid, who competed alongside Kayser on varsity last year said it is hard to start the year without their third best player.

“It makes us all play a little tougher to make up for the loss,” Farid said.

While Kayser appealed to the MSHSAA board to let her continue playing on varsity, her teammates started the season without her, and they felt the loss of one of their members.

The girls’ assistant tennis coach, Mallory Weber, has known Kayser since she started coaching last fall while student teaching for Deborah McDonough. She believes Kayser has been supportive of the team throughout her struggle to get back on varsity.

“As a senior, she’s really been a leader on and off the court for the past few years. And even though she was ineligible, she was still coming to practice most of the time,” Weber said, “and she was always helping with team events even outside of practice. So, even though she couldn’t play, she was always around the team and always supporting in our matches and coming with us on trips.”

While she continued to encourage the team, on Sept. 5, Kayser made her first appeal to a small board at MSHSAA. The outcome was a five to five tie on whether Kayser could return to playing at the varsity level or not. Unfortunately, as a result, her previous ruling of sub-varsity eligibility remained intact.

But Kayser, unwilling to give up without a fight, appealed to the larger MSHSAA board of directors Sept. 12. She was reinstated as a member of the RBHS varsity team and received her full eligibility to compete alongside her teammates.

With Kayser back on the team, Weber thinks the girls only have a better chance of winning. But while Kayser was suspended, the girls ranked lower had to be bumped up in position and step up their entire game.

“Maddy started the year playing No. 3 for us. And when all this happened, everybody, four, five, six, and seven, had to move up a spot,” said Weber. “So those girls that were down there and had to move up. And then, two of them were juniors and seniors. And they’ve all done really well so far this year.”

With a recent stress fracture to her wrist, Kayser unfortunately hasn’t been able to play yet because of doctors orders. This weekend, Kayser will travel with the RBHS team to southern Illinois for a match in hopes of playing with her team. But she said that participating this weekend would be pushing it for her. She is unsure whether she will be able to play Saturday.

“Considering the fact that I haven’t been able to play for a month with my wrist, I’m just excited to get out there and compete and try my best,” Kayser said. “But I still think we have a chance of doing very well.”

Weber said even if Kayser can not play this weekend, her other teammates that have moved up and have been successful. Now, when she does return, the team will become stronger. Kayser has been a supporter for the team throughout her struggle. Now that she is returning, her teammates are hoping she is ready to jump right back into her game.

“We’ve done really well at the beginning. But when Maddy comes back, she’s a very strong player. So that’s going to help not only in singles, but also in doubles,” Weber said. “The team is very deep, so when she comes back it’s really only going to help us. We have the potential to do really well this year.”

By Ipsa Chaudhary