Practice makes permanent

Jackie Gaworski, staff reporter

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At age nine, Ali Kopiecki knew she wanted to make a name for herself in tennis. Her role model was 2014 State Champion Summer Brills, whom she had watched dominate the courts for years. After watching Summer play one day, Kopiecki, 11, turned to her mom and said, “I want to be as good as her one day.”

Fast forward eight years. Now the number one singles player on the girls tennis team, Kopiecki has achieved a lot in her short time with the team. Last season she won conference champion, section champion, and fifth place at State.

Kopiecki, who has been playing tennis since she was eight, credits her success to having a positive mindset. “I believe my success comes from me believing I can do it. I play well when I maintain a positive mindset,” she said. “Also, practice makes permanent. I practice good habits, so I compete with good habits.”

Her passion for tennis does not stop at the high school level; Kopiecki also plays for a Lifetime Fitness club during the offseason.

“Both experiences, high school and club, are very fun. For the team we are a lot closer and bonded, where my club is more relaxed and there are girls and boys.”

While Kopiecki loves staying active with tennis, her drive stems from a desire to improve. “My motivation comes from wanting to beat the ‘old me,’” she said. “Seeing yourself progress is really fun and makes everything you’re doing feel worthwhile.

Although Mounds View missed the state tournament this year, Kopiecki is looking towards improving next season. “We lost in team section finals to Mahtomedi, 3-4,” she said. “That was a huge improvement from the scrimmage we had earlier on in the season. We’re only going to get better as a team in the off-season.”

In addition, Kopiecki can still make it to State as an individual. But win or lose, Kopiecki appreciates tennis for what it has taught her. “Tennis is a way for me to push myself, not only physically, but mentally as well,” she said. “I aim to build character on and off the court.”

While her high school career will end next year, Kopiecki plans on playing tennis far into the future.

“I might try to get a college scholarship and play, but tennis is also a lifelong sport.”

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