The Hart boys tennis team was honored on Friday afternoon with a special CIF banner for being one of 35 State Academic Team Champions for the 2018-19 school year.
The majority of the Indians team, including last year’s seniors who graduated, gathered below the marquee at the front of Hart High School alongside head coach Allan Hardbarger, JV coach Eric Olsson and Hart principal Jason d’Autremont to display their banner.
While several teams in the Hart district have won CIF-Southern Section academic honors, the Hart boys tennis team is the first to win an academic award on the state level. The Indians had a collective grade point average of 3.91.
“It’s cool that it’s a first for the school because Hart is such a great school both for sports and for academics,” said last season’s team captain Spencer Kline. “It’s really nice having the whole distinguished school award, but having both categories come together in an award like this is a great feeling.”
Student-athletes have the unique challenge of balancing their academics and athletic endeavors, and with daily practices after school and weekend events often on the schedule, classroom work can sometimes fall by the wayside.
Kline, for one, would make sure his work was done the night before so he could have a clear mind at practice and focus on becoming a better tennis player.
“Personally, academics are very important to me, so I like to have all my work done the night before,” he said. “Whenever I come home from practice I make sure my work was done. Finding that balance is important as a student-athlete, it’s just the drive to achieve in both categories that keeps me going.”
As the team captain, Kline was fortunate to be surrounded by teammates that also take pride in their studies. He never had to worry about them falling behind in the classroom, so they could focus all their energy on improving as a team.
“I think we all have that pressure to succeed whether through our classmates and other things, to always be the best we can be both on the court and in the classroom,” Kline said. “Everyone had their own drive and willingness to put in the effort, it was mainly our own personal drive. I have to give it to the guys, they really put the work in for this.”