Girls tennis runs in the Anderson family.
Senior Emma Anderson and her sister, Paige Anderson, are one of the only two pairs of sisters to have won 100 career matches for the Elks. Emma and Paige are two of only nine players in the 47-year history of the program.
Emma started playing when she was around 8 or 9 years old. Her favorite tennis player is retired Russian-American superstar Maria Sharapova, but she also enjoys watching American tennis icon Serena Williams.
Emma won her 100th meet on Saturday, Aug. 28, during the Elks sweep of the Elk River Invitational. She defeated Emma Erickson of Chisago Lakes 1-0, winning the set 10-3.
Emma has been playing for the Elks since her seventh-grade 2016 season. Paige won her 100th meet on Sunday, September 15, 2019.
Emma said one of her goals is to make it to the 2021 Class 2A state tournament as an individual and surpass her sister in win totals. Paige won 116 matches for the Elks. Emma hopes to make it to at least 117 before the season ends.
Emma said she loves the competitiveness of tennis.
“The high school team has been so fun…all of the friends I’ve made from it,” Emma said. “Some of my best friends have been on the tennis team. I’ve always loved it since I was little; the competitiveness and satistfaction of winning points.”
Head coach Randy Ronning said Emma represents the last of a long line of Andersons playing for the Elks girls tennis team.
“She is a fiesty competitor and leader,” Ronning said. “She not only made All-Conference [Northwest Suburban Conference]] four times, but made All-State by advancing to State in Doubles. She played No. 1 singles and lead our team to conference championships and two team victories at State. She had a celebration in her honor when she won her 100th career varsity match [on Saturday, Aug. 28].
“She is a combination of both Shelby and Paige. Now, she’s passed the incredible milestone of winning more than 100 career varsity matche. She owes her success to all four of those people, Troy, Penny, Shelby and Paige. Paige had an awesome forehand, one of the best you’ll see. Emma has a very good forehand, but a better topspin backhand than Paige did.”
Emma said Ronning always gives her and other players good advice.
“We read a code every practice,” she said. “You can tell he puts his heart and soul into tennis and he lives by that code on and off the court. He’s a good coach.”
When Friday, June 10, 2022, comes around, Emma will be one of hundreds of Elk River High School seniors that will toss their caps in the air at the Elk River High School gymnasium as she graduates from high school. Emma will attend Florida SouthWestern State College in the fall of 2022. She will major in business and entrepreneurship.
Troy said tennis is going to teach her a life lesson.
“She might have that first interview, something in life that involves a lot of pressure, a lot of stress,” he said. “I believe that the coaches in Elk River are second to none. I believe that the tennis coaches in Elk River instill stuff in the girls that they will use throughout their life, not just in the tennis season.
“She’s becoming a young adult being a leader and a captain on the team. When she first got on the team in 2016, like any child, the pressure’s immense, especially when your game can decide whether your team is going to win or lose. She’s mastered how to manage pressure.”