Not everyone expresses themselves through words; some express themselves through art or dance or music, but Friendswood High School sophomore Quinn Radtke expresses herself through tennis.
“Tennis is a great way for me to express myself since I’m very shy,” Radtke said. “It allows me to be active and show my work ethic.”
It is her quiet ways and inspiring work ethic, Radtke’s coach and teammate said, that has caused her to rise to be the number one ranked tennis player at FHS.
“She’s a very driven athlete,” Mia Gonzalez, FHS junior said. “Her coming in and taking the number one spot showed everyone what the Friendswood tennis team should look like and how we should act. She’s inspired us to be better players and to try as hard as we can.”
David Cook, FHS tennis coach, agreed with Gonzalez in saying Radtke’s hard work is exceptional.
“It’s not one example; it’s every day, it’s all the time. It’s just who she is,” Cook said. “Once you watch her for a minute, you understand. She’s a great model to copy.”
Cook said he credits this model behavior to Radtke’s success as she has already collected 12 wins this season with only one loss against Clear Creek High School; however, Radtke sees each of these wins as small victories on a path she said she hopes leads her and her team to the state competition. She said in order to get there, she must first put in time practicing on the court.
“It’s really fun to come out here and play after a long day of school. My mindset is always: what can I improve on today?” Radtke stated. “I hope to show my teammates what good work ethic is, what hard work can do and accomplish, and hopefully push them to make the team better as a whole.”
Radtke said her rise to the top is a bit of a Cinderella story, starting with humble beginnings.
“I started playing when I was close to 10-years-old. My first year, I was just hitting with my dad. He watched YouTube videos to learn how to play tennis, I picked up a racket and he coached me with his YouTube video experience,” Radtke laughed. “It wasn’t until about a year later that I started taking lessons, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
However, Radtke almost missed her opportunity to compete at the high-school level.
“I wasn’t originally planning on playing tennis for the school, but then my private lesson coach convinced me to go ask Coach Cook to allow me to play even though I had missed tryouts,” Radtke said. “He thought it over, then called my mom to tell her I could join the team.”
Cook called this decision “the best exception [he] ever made.”
Gonzalez said she too is glad Radtke was allowed to join.
“She’s a great teammate: I’ve never heard her brag. I’ve never heard her yell. I’ve never heard her be rude to anyone,” Gonzalez said. “She really is an amazing person and I would love to be exactly like her.”
The comments made by her coach and teammate brought a smile to Radtke’s face.
“It feels really good to see I’m needed on the team and people appreciate me,” Radtke said. “But I do not want to take all of the attention whenever we have so many amazing players on our team. My teammates are what really makes this sport so great.”