Chloe Jefferies has always loved the sport of tennis since she was a toddler. But becoming part of a team is a recent step.
Jefferies was home schooled starting in the sixth grade and pursued an intense training regimen on her own until last season.
The then-junior joined West Des Moines Valley after deciding she wanted to enjoy the benefits of being on a team.
“I knew several of the players,” Jefferies said. “They looked like they had so much fun.”
The varsity newcomer ended her season by winning the Class 2-A state singles championship.
Jefferies has played competitively since age 5.
She takes lessons at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. She said she’s the only girl her age in the program and plays against boys most of the time.
That experience has left an interesting impact on her game – her style and technique of play is similar to boys.
Jefferies hits with a powerful swing and plays aggressively. She gives like she gets.
“They’re bigger and stronger like you,” Jefferies said. “It makes you say, ‘I can play as well as you.’ “
Boys teased her in a good-natured way. But Jefferies stood her ground.
“You start to adopt the way they play,” Jefferies said.
Her withering attack wears out foes. A Valley assistant, seeing her smack the ball for the first time, said “Oh my gosh, you hit like a boy.”
That intense competitive streak, fueled by practicing vs. boys, has helped her on the high school courts.
Jefferies showed up at her first Valley practice a year ago not knowing what to expect.
Coach Matt Ross started her out hitting against the lower position players. Jefferies dominated, working her way up the ladder during the afternoon.
By the day’s end, Ross told her: “I think we’re going to put you at No. 1.”
She learned the thrills of winning a state title last June.
“I’ve never had such a crowd in my life,” Jefferies said.
Jefferies, who said she would like to play in college and then have a professional career, learned to love being part of a team.
“At first, I only knew a couple of the girls, but I had a wonderful experience,” Jefferies said.
Iowa City West owns the Iowa record with eight state boys’ soccer championships. The Trojans won in 2000, 2003, 2005 and have taken first in five of the last six years.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Which spring sport will benefit the most from recent good weather?
“Track. Meets not being canceled due to cold weather and they can practice outside instead of inside…” – Trever Ryen.
“Golf. No brainer.” – Ric Silvestrini.
PREP WEB EXTRAS
For photos and video from the Waukee girls’ track invitational, visit DesMoinesRegister.com/HSInsider.
DID YOU KNOW? Chris Soules, the Iowa farmer turned reality TV star of “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With The Stars” competed in the state boys’ track meet in 2000. Soules took 11th in the Class 2-A shot put with a throw of 46-101/4 for Starmont of Arlington. Soules also wrestled and played football at Starmont. He went on to play football at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge before going on to Iowa State.
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