When most people think of tennis they don’t think of a specific team, they think of an individual. To Buchholz High School Senior Abby Stricklin tennis is more than just a one-man sport; it takes a whole squad.
Being a part of the Bobcats tennis team has taught Abby that it’s the people that matter most.
Abby moved to Gainesville, FL midway through her high school career as her father accepted the Athletic Director position at UF. Adjustments are never easy, whether they’re big or small. Tennis, however, has provided Abby a comfort zone. Joining the Buchholz tennis team her junior year, Abby immediately met 7-9 new faces. One of which was Emma Shelton. Emma is currently committed to South Carolina and the daughter of UF Men’s Tennis Coach Bryan Shelton.
Abby describes Emma as “not only a phenomenal player but an encouraging friend and teammate”. She has always been someone that Abby could count on, on and off the court. The Buchholz tennis team is composed of a group of young athletes that call themselves friends, not just teammates. Abby says this is because of their coach, Bobbie Mehan. When asked about Coach Mehan Abby described her as “fun-loving, someone who makes practice enjoyable, and most importantly a coach that listens”.
According to Abby, the Bobcats’ goal is to make it to state. Last season the team won both their district tournament and regional matches, then lost in the first round of state. In 2017, however, the Buchholz girl’s tennis team finished runner-ups at state. Considering it is Abby’s senior season, she would love to compete alongside this Buchholz team in the championship. Abby says, “This group is hard working and in it together”.
Following high school, Abby plans to attend either the University of Florida or Mississippi State. She plans on pursuing a career involving athletics. This, of course, partially is because of the role tennis has played in her life. Tennis has taught Abby to “have pride and resilience whether you’re playing a sport or living life”.