The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


Eyes on the prize

Freshman Mireya David’s drive for the game of tennis
Lia Emry
Staying on her toes, freshman Mireya David hits a backhand shot as she stays driven towards the ball. Being new to the girls tennis team, David appreciates the veterans of the team for welcoming her with open arms. “The team already had a really good bond when I first came. I was really grateful for how accepting the girls were of me on the team. They really made me feel welcome when I first arrived,” David said.

With girls tennis season in full swing, freshman Mireya David stepped onto the court hitting hard and precise shots in the first week of tryouts. The 14-year-old took the court by storm, winning point after point during tryouts, and earned the team’s number one spot.

David frequently competes in USTA tennis tournaments around the year, ranking up points and honing her skills. David has won over 120 tournaments in the five years she has played tennis, and enjoys playing singles the most.

“I started tennis when I was 9 years old and I was in third grade. I started mostly because I tried every other sport and nothing was really clicking for me. One of my friends recommended that I tried tennis and I think it clicked because of the people that I was surrounded with,” David said. 

Tennis is more than just a game to David. She says that it’s given her the opportunity to grow as a person and gain discipline in her everyday life. 

“The first year I played tennis, I played for the exercise and to get outside. Everyone in my family is a little bit competitive, which rubbed off on me. I grew to love the sport more and more every day. It was a challenge, but it was a challenge that I wanted to take on,” David said.

Coming in at the top 200 for girls tennis in the nation, David has a Universal Tennis Ranking (UTR) of 6.5. A UTR is calculated by using the number of games a player has won, as well as the overall result of the entire match.  It uses a scale from 1.00-16.50, and any tennis player in the world, including professionals, can get it for free. Serena Williams has a UTR of 13.36. David plans on using her high UTR to play college tennis or potentially go pro after high school.

“I’ve been playing competitive tennis since I was ten. I wasn’t doing particularly well until a couple years ago when I started taking tennis seriously, and I started playing a lot of bigger competitive tournaments. The better I got, the more I won and the more points I ranked up, so it feels pretty nice to have a national ranking,” David said.

Freshman Mireya David holds her racket in front of her with two hands, gazing forward during her game. She stands in the center of a tennis court.
With her racquet in hand, freshman Mireya David plays singles against Parkway Central. David often gets handed the question as to what she wants to do with tennis after high school. “I’m trying to figure out where I want to go with tennis. I know that at the very least I want to play college tennis. I’ll be playing satellite tournaments over the next couple years and seeing if this is something I want to take professionally, but I’m trying to figure it out as I go,” David said. (Lia Emry)

David stood out to varsity girls tennis coach and physical education teacher Katelyn Arenos on the court. Arenos has seen how David has impacted the team in several ways. Being the number one player on the team, she stepped into a leadership role.

“Mireya has really embraced the leadership role and she has done great things for the team this year, such as she talks to the girls after matches and asks them how it goes. She goes and cheers on our teammates. She is very coachable. She’s easy to talk to. She’s very mature for her age. It’s not about her, it’s about her team, and that’s something that I’ve been really impressed with this season,” Arenos said.

Match after match, David cheers on her teammates. Considering David’ leadership on the team, Arenos can often be seen giving David not only tips on her technique but also the mental side of tennis. 

“Mireya is a really strong tennis player and extremely athletic. She is super mentally strong and doesn’t let things get to her bother her. Being focused in her matches when she’s playing, being really skilled at tennis and working really hard. All of those aspects have really gotten her to this point. Those are things you can’t really teach or coach. I am really looking forward to the next three years with her,” Arenos said

Although David enjoys playing singles, David also plays doubles with her partner senior, Jojo Shank. While this is the first year they have played together, you can often see Shank and David winning point after point on the court.

Even though this is our first year of playing together, I feel we’ve worked well and built a good team together. Mireya stands out with how impeccable her form and strokes are. It’s insane how much power, spin and control she has over the ball. As a doubles player she helps to take control of points and put the ball away and win us the point,” Shank said. “We’ve been successful. We tried to stay in the moment and just go point by point. She’s helped me be more conscientious of my playing style and what I can do to set her up to make that final put away. We had a really successful season together and I’m super excited to see where her tennis career leads.”

However, David has faced hurdles throughout her career. David underwent surgery for her knee two years ago after having pain whilst playing. Doctors warned her that she may never be able to play at 100 percent again. Despite the odds she still decided to go through with the operation and, to her luck, was cleared later on. 

“There have been times where I’ve hit a plateau in my game, or I’m not really improving at the rate that I feel like I should be. Those are always the hurdles that I have to get over, especially post-COVID. Before COVID, I was playing at the top of my league, [but] then after it was [like] starting from square one all over again,” David said.

Spending hours on the court, David would practice six days a week and would take Sunday off to recover. Conditioning is one of the many ways David prepares to stay ready on the court, saying that in order to be ready for the court you have to be physically strong and have a lot of dedication.

“Tennis has definitely challenged me, both physically and mentally. Physically, tennis has challenged me to get stronger and when I hit plateaus and [I]don’t know if [I]can keep going. It keeps pushing me, and I know so many people who have given up because of the push, but I think [it’s] what keeps me going and driven [to keep playing],” David said. 

Beating the pressure that comes along with sports and tennis, David views the stress of tennis to have a valuable lesson that comes with it.

“There’s stress that comes with every sport, but for me, tennis has really improved the way I handle stressful situations. Even outside of the court, I feel more mentally aware of what I need to do and how I need to [get] things done without panicking or being under too much stress, which comes in handy at school as well.”

David’s parents travel with her from state to state for her various tournaments. With the goal in mind to win, David often misses school to compete, and trains with multiple coaches before and after school.

“My parents are a really big part of me being the tennis player and the person that I am today. They always remind me that they’re here [for me]. We’re all team Mireya. They’ve really sacrificed so much for me, for me to be able to go to practices, for games, and especially traveling, because there aren’t very many huge tournaments here in Missouri. We’ve had to travel a lot for tennis, but they put aside so much for me,” David said.

To David, tennis is a sport that challenges her mentally and physically. David says it has helped her to grow as a human not just an athlete and is not for the light-hearted it requires a lot of dedication.

“Tennis has become my own form of therapy. It’s another passion that I have that keeps me going and gives me drive to do the things that I love. [It’s] been a really big part of my life now for five years,” David said. “It has shaped me into [the person] who I’ve become.”

Freshman Mireya David tosses a tennis ball upward, staring at it, with her racket in her other hand. She stands in the center of the court, showing her intense focus.
Tossing the ball in the air, freshman Mireya David serves the ball in an intense match against Parkway Central. David coach, Katelyn Arenos was impressed by the freshman when she first stepped on the court. “Mireya is our number one player for reason. She’s a really strong tennis player. It’s always nice to have a strong freshman [player] because, we’ll have her for four years. It’s black and white when it comes to who gets to play where on the team because it comes down to who you’ve beaten and who you’ve lost to and she’d be all the top players and she deserved and earned that one spot [on the team],” Arenos said. (Lia Emry)
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Lia Emry, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? I'm not sure, but I love cats. Who is your hero? My mom. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sushi.
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  • A

    Alisha YinOct 11, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    Great article Lia!
    Common Mireya W

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    Preethy BaskarOct 10, 2023 at 6:33 pm

    Great article Lia !! Very well written!!