Student athletic profile

Sophia Kim



When did you first start playing tennis?

When I was about 8 years old. I initially tried a lot of sports when I was younger. I did soccer, volleyball, swimming. Tennis is the one that really stuck. I started competing more regularly and traveling to more tournaments when I was 11 or 12. That's kind of when I decided tennis was my main sport.

What do you enjoy about being on the high school team?

Tennis is typically an individual sport, but in the high school environment, it's a team sport, which makes it super fun, because I get to cheer on my teammates, spend a lot of time with them, practice together, all of which I really like.

What do you enjoy about other competitions?

When I play in tournaments other months of the year, I'm by myself out there or just with my doubles partner. It teaches me to be more accountable for my decisions. Every win, every loss is something I can learn from.

What is it like to be one of nine co-captains?

It's a super fun environment to be in, because we're all able to contribute to helping run team practices when necessary, helping organizing team bonding events and things like that. I've really enjoyed spending more time with my fellow seniors and getting to know them better.

What is the best advice you've gotten from a coach?

The best piece of advice I've gotten from my current coach, Vadym Kalyuzhnyy. Every time I have a match he makes sure to remind me I have to go out there and earn it. No one is going to just hand me the win.

What is your goal for the state meet?

My goal is to just contribute as much as I can to our team score to help and see how well we can do. It will be my last time playing at state, so it will be a special experience for sure.

What are your plans for next year?

I've verbally committed to play at Johns Hopkins University next fall. I'm really excited to just play in the collegiate tennis environment.

Why does coach Shawna Zsinko like having Kim on the team?

Sophia, our No. 1 singles player, is a hard worker. She is very committed to improving every year and isn't afraid to leave everything on the court.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by Jim Slonoff

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean