Tennis players bothered by off-campus courts


Jackie Jablonski

Varsity tennis player Katie Eippert is seen serving at Highland Heights tennis courts.

By Brynn Gillen and Jackie Jablonski

Mayfield High School tennis players are being affected by using off-campus courts on a regular basis.

Many players have no choice but to walk to Highland Heights Park and cross main roads in varying weather conditions to practice, due to the fact that the school no longer has a tennis court.

Mayfield High School used to have tennis court before the construction of the Wildcat Stadium entrance and parking lot. However, according to the athletic director, the courts had been removed because of the need for more parking during the football games.

Keith Leffler, athletic director, said the old tennis courts were demolished to make room for handicapped parking at the stadium.  “[The only way] to work around that was to utilize Highland Heights park because they had brand new tennis courts,” he said.

Girls varsity player Katie Eippert thinks it would be a lot easier to have courts at the high school. She said, “I think it would be a lot easier for us and we would be able to practice more, because we waste so much time getting down there and getting set up that if it was here we wouldn’t have to wait and could get right to practice.”

Not having on campus courts also causes more of a hassle for students to get to their games. Some players might not have transportation to the courts and may have to walk with all of their equipment, which could be dangerous when crossing the main roads.

Leffler said, “We are limited on the transportation standpoint with how many buses were allowed per day and so those are going to go to the teams that actually are traveling at much greater distances.”

Boys varsity tennis player Johnny Gaudio sometimes has to walk to the park along with many others.

He said, “When I can’t find a ride and have to walk to the courts it’s super annoying because I have to carry all of my stuff, and the walk is around 15 minutes. Our stuff actually gets heavy after walking repeatedly. It just gets annoying.”

According to Eippert, it is dangerous to walk to the tennis courts after school. She said. “In a way it is [dangerous] because you’re walking close to a four lane road while carrying your book bag and tennis bag, so you’re already hurting from carrying all this stuff and you have to cross the street twice.”

Having tennis courts off campus at a public park also means other people are able to play at the same time, which can mess up a scheduled game. Leffler said, “The community will sometimes complain that they want to use the court when teams are playing. We do have a very good relationship with Highland Heights and they don’t charge us to use the courts.”

According to Eippert, the courts are not well kept. She said, “A lot of them are bumpy or have crack which can affect how you play, and a lot of the times there are other people on the courts, despite us having them reserved which causes problems.

Principal Jeff Legan admitted there isn’t much hope for the future tennis players to have on campus courts, but Leffler hopes that in the future that there could be courts. Leffler said, “Maybe in the long term, maybe it [the tennis courts] is something we can bring back.”

This story was originally published on The Paw Print on April 29, 2019.