Sports

Tennis players hope to ‘light up courts’ in honor of coach

Karin Hedlund and her mother, Joyce Hedlund, a long time coach at Mercer Island, with dog Acey at the high school. - Contributed photo
Karin Hedlund and her mother, Joyce Hedlund, a long time coach at Mercer Island, with dog Acey at the high school.
— image credit: Contributed photo

For years, Mercer Island High School tennis coach Joyce Hedlund mentored and helped tennis players on the Island. Not only was she a coach, but a listening ear and someone to talk to if needed.

After her death last November, two of her players, Gabe Davis and Matthew Sedlacek, put forth the idea of getting the tennis courts at the high school lit. It had long been Hedlund’s wish to have lights at the courts, but that was never financially possible for the school district.

Now, Davis, Sedlacek and a variety of supporters hope the project can gain traction.

“We’ve done all the leg work; we just need the supporters,” said Davis. “I think it can definitely happen.”

The project’s estimated price tag is $285,000, which includes the lights, construction, permits — essentially everything that is needed to get the project done, Davis said.

Dubbed “Light up the Courts,” the funds collected will be handled by the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, making it a tax deduction.

“Joyce was like a second mom to me,” said Sedlacek. “I wanted to repay her for it.”

The project, when completed, will light the courts with eight lights on four poles. Davis said the group has talked with Musco Lighting, which uses a controlled lighting set-up to lessen disturbance to neighbors.

While Davis said they don’t have any permits for the project from the city yet, they have discussed the idea with various members at City Hall and know exactly what needs to be done, once the funds are available.

“We’ve come a long way, we’ve got a good group of supporters,” said Davis. The hope is to have lights on the courts by the spring of 2011.

“We hope it can pick up some steam and get going,” said Davis who played tennis with Hedlund for three of his years at MIHS.

Davis and Sedlacek both graduated in June and two incoming seniors are taking over the project at the local level. Jared Thomas and Erica Baska are making the effort their culminating project, a required piece for graduation.

Want to donate?

Make checks payable to “Joyce Hedlund Memorial Tennis Courts Improvement Project” and mail to MI Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 24172, Seattle, Wa 98124-10172.

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