Sherando High School 17-year-old senior
Sport: Tennis. Positions: No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles
Parent: Joanie Blevins. Hometown: Front Royal
What do you love about tennis: The competitiveness. I like winning, and when I lose it’s also good because I get to learn from my mistakes. And I like being able to take what I’ve learned from my shortcomings, and work hard to overcome what I may not have been able to do previously.
Most memorable moment in tennis: Last year in the regional semifinals against Loudoun County. It was 4 all, and me and my doubles partner were the last one [on the court], so it kind of decided the whole match. On match point, I had a service ace. I didn’t even know [my serve] went in. (Blevins and Morgan Sutphin won 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.) I think it was just crazy for everyone, because it was probably one of the best serves I’ve ever had and probably one of the best moments it could have happened, too.
Most embarrassing moment in tennis: This has happened several times. You get this beautiful overhead coming straight at you, and you get so excited to hit it that you wind up missing the ball.
Most difficult moment in tennis: There have been so many of them. I remember one day against James Wood this year I knew I wasn’t doing well or playing as good as I could, and I was really upset. I started crying a little bit on the court. I didn’t end up losing that match, but I knew I was playing bad. Even though I was up, I actually felt awful. And I got upset when the line judges were called in [for the district championship against Handley]. I won the match, but having the judges called on you is never fun.
Three people/animals you can have dinner with, dead or alive: My old cat; I miss him a lot. I had him for three years. He passed away five years ago. Of the living beings in my life, he’s probably the one I’ve been most attached to. He’d be sitting there every day waiting for me on the couch when I’d get home from school. We’d always fall asleep together. That was the sweetest cat I’ve ever met in life. My grandfather John; I miss him a lot. He passed away 10 or 11 years ago. He was the only grandparent I ever really had who was there and supportive of me all the time. I really want to see him again. And Quackity; that’s his online persona name. His actual name is Alex Maldonado. He’s a YouTuber. He’s just very funny.
Biggest athletic influence: Coco Gauff. I just like her spirit and her drive. She’s also young. She’s 18, so she’s very close to my age. To see her succeed so much at such a very young age, and how driven she is to become such a strong competitor, it’s really inspiring to see.
Favorite teacher: Mr. [Delmar] Arnold. He teaches chemistry. I had him in 10th grade. I am a very slow learner, and he used to sit with me and kind of help me through everything that we were learning before the test, and really get me prepared, and help me know more about the subject. He would sit there every day during lunch and help me, and I think that was so nice of him to do, to give up his lunch period to help me, because I was struggling in his class.
Favorite athlete: Coco Gauff
Favorite movie: “Ready or Not”
Favorite TV show: “Alice in Borderland”
Favorite song: “Addicted” by Jorja Smith
Favorite food: Gyoza
Worst thing you’ve eaten: I had a chili dog a few months ago and it was nasty. I actually like hot dogs, but that was awful.
Plans after high school: I was planning on studying in Japan this summer, but that got canceled. I’m going to UVA (University of Virginia) and I know they have a lot of study abroad programs, so I’m just going to see what they have available because I want to travel. I’m going to major in business. I’m doing that just because it kind of applies to anything. I plan on getting a job with the State Department. I don’t really know which job yet. Just as long as I can travel, I don’t really care what job it is.
— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki