Darien’s Martin is Hearst Connecticut Media’s girls tennis MVP
Normally if a team’s best player, regardless of sport, is a sophomore that team is in some sort of rebuilding or development phase.
But not for the Darien girls tennis team and No. 1 singles player Kateri Martin.
Martin won the individual state crown in 2015 and also led the Blue Wave to the team title. Adding to accolades Martin was voted Hearst Media’s girls tennis player of the year.
“She’s just a phenomenal tennis player,” Darien coach Davin Gebauer said of Martin. “She works at her sport and she’s already accomplished so much as a sophomore as well as being so humble and a true team player.”
After taking home both the individual and team trophies this year, Martin told Gebauer that the solo performance felt no better than the team one.
“We always talk about being a team player and she is,” Gebauer said. “She practices with everyone on the team, regardless if they’re the No. 2 or 4 and she’s there every day to practice. She is competitive and takes her job seriously, but she’s got it all going in the right direction.”
In the past two seasons Martin has been unquestionably Darien’s best player and it’s showed on the court. Being 14 and 15 years old on a team with 17-18 years olds can be intimidating for anyone, but Martin has handled her role with poise and success both on and off the court.
What remains to be seen is how she handles jumping from a purely performance based role to one of leadership. Gebauer thinks she has a solid early handling of her role, and since she is routinely coached throughout the year by professionals, he has adapted the capacity of maturity development for the young star.
“She plays a lot of tennis and has good coaches and they know what she has to work on technically and she will, there’s no question in my mind,” Gebauer said. “I know her family and they’re well-grounded and she has the leadership capabilities; it’s hard as a freshman and sophomore but she’s going to fill that void well.”