Athlete of the Week: Gentry caps perfect freshman year

mbtennis-gentry2Myrtle Beach High Freshman tennis player Paxton Gentry has done the one thing every high school athlete dreams about as she helped the Lady Seahawks to another Class 3A state championship, as well as an undefeated season for herself.

“It felt really good. We all knew we could do it and that was our goal all year,” Gentry said.  “I still can’t believe we actually won states It doesn’t seem real.”

Her incredible talent and mindset to strive and work through adversity while playing is perhaps one of the reasons she was selected as the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week.

Gentry’s well-known tennis skill certainly did not come overnight as she has spent countless hours on the court with a vision for every match ahead. Her journey began at an early age when she picked up a racquet for the first time and ever since she has been thriving in the game.

“Practicing all the time is what makes me better, and my coaches and my family and friends motivate me and push me to be the best that I can be,” said Gentry.

With her humble approach toward things on and off the court, Gentry has managed to drown out the spotlight and focus on the game she loves. This mentality could certainly lead her to another perfect season.

“It feels really good to be playing for the Seahawks and playing with all my friends right beside me,” said Gentry.

The Myrtle Beach girls tennis program has 15 state championships to its credit and Gentry played a major role in the latest title. She went 21-0 at No. 5 singles for the Lady Seahawks, and she may be around to see Myrtle Beach win even more before she graduates.

Jerri Himmelsbach has been coaching tennis for Myrtle Beach for four years and has had the privilege to be a part of Gentry’s life as she plays. The coach respects her hard work and dedication towards herself and others and is excited for her to grow in the future.

“Paxton has worked hard all year. She is a smart player and can analyze her opponent and knows what she needs to do to come out on top,” Himmelsbach said. “She is an asset to our team and display’s great sportsmanship.”

With young athletes on the rise it looks like Gentry and the team could have another long adventurous season next year back to the top.

“I just have to focus and relax and enjoy the sport that I love to play,” Gentry said.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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