An Ace On and Off the Court

Alex Payne  |   Junior  |  Mount Michael Benedictine High School

Alex Payne didn’t know a soul when he started high school two years ago at Mount Michael, but joining the tennis team opened the door to new friendships. “I was the only one coming from my school (Elkhorn Ridge Middle School). It amazed me how welcoming the coach and the players were.” Alex started on the varsity team as a freshman and made it all the way to the state tournament in his first year, despite never having played competitively before high school.

State tennis shows a more competitive side of the normally quiet Alex, according to his mom, Nicole. “He’s out there yelling and supporting his teammates. State tennis brings out a totally different person and someone I’ve never seen him be. He usually reserved, but he was the most vocal out of his team at state tennis.”

As a sophomore, Alex was plagued with tennis elbow, but his mental game affected his play as well. “My biggest struggle is my mental game. Sometimes I get into my own head and it affects my shots.” Alex strives for perfection, but his coach has been teaching him to let it go and move on to the next shot. His teammates support each other, keeping the focus on camaraderie and the brotherhood.

Living at Mount Michael creates an opportunity for Alex to forge a closer relationship with his fellow students. There are only about 70 boys in his junior class, and 40 of them board at school. “It’s always fun because you always have a lot of people to talk to.” He adds that everyone has an after school activity. “Even in the dorms, there will be people who will go lift weights, play some can jam or pick up flag football or basketball, even board games.”

Alex is actively anticipating college and eager to earn a scholarship in math or science, both areas in which he excels. In addition to tennis, he’s also been on the JV golf team and a member of National Honor Society. His intense focus on academics as well as athletics promise Alex a bright future indeed.

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