Success in tennis for Shinn

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Featured, Sports

Published on July 10, 2012 with No Comments

Margaret Shinn of Chesterton excels personally and as a team in tennis

As Margaret Shinn of Chesterton High School approaches her senior tennis season, she is buoyed by the fact she and her team have already accomplished a goal.

The Trojans made it to the regional finals of the state tennis tournament. The goal was to do just that, which incorporated a successful season and then a sectional title.

Chesterton was ranked No. 11 in the state at season’s end, another school mark. Penn, which was No. 4 in the state, won the regional final. Chesterton got there by eliminating St. Joseph’s, 3-2.

Shinn is quick to credit her teammates for all the success. “We had a really outstanding year,” said Shinn, which started with a defeat of archrival Valparaiso. They were undefeated in the Duneland Conference, 17-3 overall.

She played at No. 1 doubles with partner J.J. Lee. She was also No. 3 singles.

A two-year player at Chesterton, Bobbi Modesto was No. 1 single. Her freshman sister, Meg, was No. 2. They also teamed in doubles. Shinn’s mom, Gretchen, is the high school coach.

“She (Bobbi) is the best player on the team, by far,” said Shinn. “Adding Meg was nice, too. We have a good mix of all the class levels.

Her mom, naturally, is where Margaret got her start, at age 5, “when the racquet was bigger than I was,” she says.

In our area, almost all tennis is played on hard court as opposed to clay or grass, but the emphasis helps makes the transition from occasional tournaments and indoor practice and play to the competitive high school season.

“I have played on carpet,” Shinn said. “But we play indoors at Northwest Athletic Club (in Michigan City).

“My mom had been playing for years and she initially put me in it,” she said. “I just kind of went with it and loved it from the start. It didn’t take any pushing to get me on the court.”

In this, her off-season, Shinn will have lessons three or four times a week and otherwise, “I just treat the summer like an off-season. The regular season is so intense, it is nice to have the break. After the high school season, it is kind of a bit of a burnout. But I will go and hit with mom.”

She was the team captain this season, which further prepares her for the senior year to come.

“My older sister played when I was a freshman and she showed me the ropes,” Shinn said. “It definitely helped me get ready for the leadership.

“So I appreciate how important it is to communicate with the younger players and I try to do that.

She will follow the “family tradition: and go to Purdue after high school, where a likely long-range goal is pharmacology. She is an A honor roll student, so grades will not be a problem at admissions time.

In fact, she credits her sport as providing the necessary focus which helps with grades as well as staying in shape.

“I try to be in shape all year long,” she said.  “I really eat healthy and that provides energy for everything in life.”

She watches her favorite professional players, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, for tips. “It’s the mental attitude, the way they compose themselves that makes them winners,” she observes.

She knows the Chesterton family is a big part of the girls’ tennis team success.

“We did get a crowd, bigger encouragement that just friends and family,” she said. “Our friends come out and sometime they even tailgate.”

So the stage is set for the season to come, that final hometown go-round.

“I’ve progressed every year,” she said. “I have really found myself and want to excel personally and as a team.”

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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the

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