Coming into the season, the Cowanesque Valley Indians tennis team saw a lot of new faces, but one player who has been a staple in their program since her freshman year and continued to play at a high-level was senior Megan Wattles.
Over her past three seasons playing tennis, Wattles has racked up a total record of 19 wins and seven losses, and helped lead her team to 13-11 record over the past two years including taking part in the District Playoffs in 2019.
Wattles continued success being the number one option for the CV tennis team is why she is named this year’s Gazette Tennis Player of the Year.
“Megan was always willing to play with or against any player on the other team,” Cowanesque Valley Head Coach Melissa Boyer said. “She was able to help her teammates improve throughout seasons because she just loves to play tennis. She is well-versed in both singles and double play and with having a small team that was very helpful.”
As one of the most experienced and versatile players on the Indians team, it showed in her final season.
Wherever she was needed, Wattles would always be the player to step into the role, including always being matched up in singles play against an opponent’s best player.
“Playing other schools number ones helped me to grow because you’re playing someone who is as good, if not better than you,” Wattles said. “You’re getting that much more experience playing girls who are either at your same level or higher up and I got to learn a lot more from them.”
Even with the highest level of competition, Wattles never posted a losing record in singles play, which is a testament to her skill and competitive drive.
Wattles prided herself on controlling the pace of the matches she played. While many players would try and push the pace of a match, Wattles implored a much more methodical approach that proved to be successful during her time as an Indian tennis player.
“I think I’m just patient,” Wattles said. “But at the same time I can just go with the flow during matches… It’s easy for me to slow things down when I’m playing tennis. When I play a lot of teams they try to speed up the game so I focus on slowing it down and working at my own pace.”
One of Wattles greatest strengths during her career has been her ability to dictate the pace of a match.
Even when teams tried to move her out of her comfort zone, she was proficient at making them play her style of game.
“Megan takes each match in stride,” Boyer said. “Megan has played multiple sports so she is able to keep her mind always moving forward and doesn’t allow herself to get caught up if things aren’t going her way. She is able to push through the tough times. She also is naturally agile and knows the sport well enough to read her opponent.”
Coming into the season, Coach Boyer knew the team would be leaning on Wattles a lot this year, and with expectations tapered with the strange start to the season the Indians were still able to come away with a 7-4 record and a second place finish in the Northern Tier League standings.
But as a true competitor, Wattles truly revelled in the opportunity to face tougher competition in matches outside of the NTL, and used those challenges to continually improve her skill set and become the best athlete she could.
“For the past two season I was just humbled to be the number one and even this year with COVID just being able to play,” Wattles said. “The relationships our team has was always the best. It was just a sport where everyone had no drama. We all just had a good, strong connection with all the girls and we take time out of practices to talk at the end, so we all just had a great connection with the coach and players.”
“She has been working toward and doing this for several seasons,” Boyer said. “She is up for the challenge and realizes that those tough matches have made her a better player. Matches outside of the league were critical to Megan’s improvement.”