Playing a competitive sport in college is an aspiration of many, and for senior Labina Petrovska that dream will come true next year.
After seven years of concentrated tennis and countless hours on the court, Petrovska’s determination has paid off in a big way with a commitment from Western Michigan University.
“To finally have committed feels amazing; to be part of such an intense program has been my goal every time I walked onto practice,” Petrovska said. “Now to finally have the opportunity, I’m relieved and nervous and thrilled all at the same time.”
With only five losses in 27 matches last year,Petrovska is ranked as the ninth best player for her age in Michigan.
Petrovska’s talent has shown considerably at Seaholm, and will continue to do so at Western.
“She will definitely succeed at Western. Playing college tennis has been a goal for her for a long time,” Seaholm teammate Laine Boitos said. “I think she will strive to be the best teammate and player she can be.”
The high stakes atmosphere at Western is one that Petrovska looks forward to. With two-a-day practices, and tournaments year round, Western is set to be a challenging environment for Petrovska to flourish in.
“I know that I still have a long way to go,” Petrovska said. “Nonetheless I can’t wait to do what I love for a school and team that will bring so many opportunities.”
In addition to working on her conditioning, Petrovska will begin to play in college level tournaments to see how she matches up against other college level players.
Petrovska was not only recruited by Western, but also schools such as Michigan State, Miami of Ohio, and several other east coast schools.
A usual week for Petrovska consists of practices six to seven days a week, which can range anywhere from one to six hours.
“I think she works harder than any other player I know and never complains,” teammate Jackie Meier said.
From age eleven on, tennis has been at center stage in Petrovska’s life. Convinced first to try tennis by her parents, Petrovska could not imagine her life without it.
“When I’m not at school or doing homework I’m at tennis,” Petrovska said. “It teaches me a lot about working hard and standing up for myself, and other than that it’s just a way, outside of school, to get rid of stress.”
When faced with adversity, Petrovska only comes back stronger, as shown through a torn ACL freshmen year. Starting the season only days after she had been cleared to resume sports, Petrovska excelled in the one doubles position.
“After I tore my ACL, I kind of began to respect the practices more, you realize what your life would be like without tennis,” Petrovska said. “It made me a stronger player, and it made me work harder.”
Petrovska is both captain and plays one singles for Seaholm’s team.
Petrovska has been a member of Seaholm’s state team every year, including the 2012 team, which took home the state title. Last year she was also all-county first team.
“I think that Labina is the standard by which all of Seaholm tennis can be measured. She has an exemplary work ethic, a wonderful skill set that only has greater promise this season and going forward,” Seaholm coach Scott Ransome said. “I think that we would all be fortunate to be as Labina is in terms for her love of the game and the passion that she has for competing.”
Petrovska credits the Seaholm team with her desire to continue her career, due to the team atmosphere the Maples exhibit.
According to Petrovska, playing for a team is different than a competitive individual tournament. Playing for a team involves cheering on your teammates, and even going as far as to rely on them for the win,
Petrovska has been a fearless leader for the team in the past year, and will continue to be one this year, according to junior Rachel Wilson.
“She speaks with her racket, and I think a lot of the girls take inspiration from her,” Ransome said.