Lake Mills’ Jena Smith was named Capitol Conference girls tennis player of the year in voting held recently.
Smith, a senior, posted a 22-2 record during the regular season, including an unblemished mark in conference play.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Lake Mills girls tennis coach Cam Dary said. “It’s something I’ve never had as a coach. She has been working for it since last year when she lost in a tiebreaker in the final match of conference. (Alethia Schmidt from Luther Prep) ended up winning player of the year (in 2018). When Jena beat Alethia when we played at Luther Prep, it became clear she had done what she needed to do.”
Smith has improved and diversified her serve to keep opponents on their heels.
“She’s been working for a couple of years on getting some variability in her serve. Her serve has been a weapon,” Dary said. “Now she has multiple serves she can use at any given time. She can win by hitting it deep, coming up to the net, hitting drop shots and can control the match in so many ways it doesn’t leave the opponents much time for making decisions, instead they have to react to what Jena does.”
Smith’s lone losses are to Division 1 foes, and likely state qualifiers, in Waukesha West’s Molly Asfeld and Madison La Follette’s Minami RiKimaru.
“At her level of competition, she has met no one that can keep up to her,” Dary said.
Smith is a captain, a role she hasn’t taken lightly.
“She’s been a huge leader,” Dary said. “It’s one thing to uphold a culture. She has been one of the big drivers of the new culture of the team. We workout, we play tennis in the offseason and we play hard. A huge part of (the new culture) is Jena and she has grown it over the last couple of years much more than your average captain, she has played a huge role in building this team up to what it is.”
Smith will now look to close out her career with a trip to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament.