Aggarwal sisters’ domination propelling Comets towards 3rd consecutive state title
Cody Allgor | Staff Writer
The Mason Girls Tennis team has a secret weapon in pursuit of their third straight Ohio Tennis Coaches Association (OTCA) state championship: The Aggarwal sisters.
Ananya and Shyla Aggrawal have dominated the court this season, leading the Comets to a perfect 18-0 record and winning the Greater Miami Conference at the 1st and 2nd singles positions, respectively.
Ananya, a senior and four-year varsity player, has aided the Comets in both of their last two state championship wins, finishing fourth place in the state playing singles when she was a sophomore, and placing third last year in doubles. Ananya is back at it this year, still undefeated at the first singles position so far.
Shyla, a freshman, is competing in her first high school season but has already leaped up to the second position on the team, only losing one match through the whole regular season.
Shyla said that before she had her chance to participate in the program, she had to wait and watch her future teammates and friends play. Shyla said the eagerness from watching motivated her even more to get to the varsity level.
“Last year, I watched almost all of their matches, and it was kind of annoying because I really wanted to be on the team,” Aggarwal said. “That pushed me even harder to make it on varsity because I wanted to be with my sister and all my friends that are on the team.”
Mike Reid, head coach of the team, said that because Shyla was already used to the atmosphere and personalities surrounding the team and her teammates, specifically Ananya, it made the transition into the high school level even easier for her.
“Shyla is a little bit more comfortable knowing the culture of our team and she’s got a lot of friends on the team,” Reid said. “It’s a ready-made situation for her. And I’m sure it’s nice to have an older sister that you can watch develop as a tennis player and learn from observing her and the way she handles herself in pressure situations.”
Ananya, who’s been the undisputed leader of the team for the last few years, said that if she is playing for a roster spot, even if it is against her sister, she looks at it as an opportunity to improve and push Shyla to be even better. Ananya said she believes that it makes the team even more competitive and is a better environment for her sister.
“If we play anyone on our team, I look at it as an opportunity to get better instead of like, ‘Oh, I want the number one spot,’ ” Aggarwal said. “We push each other, so when it comes time for the bigger matches, we’re ready. It’s nice having your sister right there with you.”
Shyla will be a sophomore next year, but she said she can still contribute as a leader by being an example to her teammates just like Ananya is now. Shyla said that since she’ll likely take over the number one spot next year from her sister, it’s critical for her to follow Ananya’s example and lead the team both physically and mentally.
“I’m going to be a sophomore, and I’ll probably be the younger one on the team,” Aggarwal said. “But I can definitely send my energy high for the team to be a good number one example just like what my sister does. She’s a good example for everybody.”
Ananya, who is committed to play at Williams College next year, believes she can be an example to Shyla in the future by doing well academically as well as athletically. Ananya said that instead of being competitive with her sister because of their similar skill sets, she looks to show her that it’s important to be well-rounded in all aspects of life and not just tennis
“I can be a role model by just doing good in college because I’m playing tennis in college and just doing good with my team and doing good in school, setting a positive example,” Aggarwal said. “Being a mentor in everything I do to Shyla is important to me because she is my little sister and she is family. It really makes me proud watching her play, and watching her succeed, because I know I took part in that.”
Photos by Riley Johansen.