MIHS captains are thriving on the girls tennis scene

Islanders are off to a solid start.

Dedication, sportsmanship, hard work and a love for the game.

That’s a four-pronged approach that the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) girls tennis players bring to the court each day in their quest to achieve success and have a ball.

Led by captains Rachel Garton, Violet Kinney, Charlotte Morrison and Chloe DeGracia, the Islanders blasted out to a 4-0 overall record at press time.

“It’s going well. It’s a great team, everyone’s super fun to have and it’s just a great experience so far this year,” said junior No. 1 singles player Garton, who teamed up with DeGracia last year to place second in doubles at the 3A state tourney. Last spring, MIHS doubles grads Jaya Manhas and Lindsey Whelan took first at state and the Islanders won the team title.

Garton added that the Islanders thrive on working together and supporting each other. The netter began her Islander journey by winning the state doubles crown with Ava Chatalas in 2022 and is playing strong in year three.

Senior DeGracia took fourth at state singles as a sophomore and is driven to return to state in that realm once again this season.

With a solid forehand in her arsenal, DeGracia is having fun and feels more relaxed on the court, she said.

On the sportsmanship front, she added: “I feel that as a team, we act well on the court and bring good sportsmanship and I think that just has a really good impact on how we play.”

Senior Kinney is pairing up with her sister Mia in the doubles sphere this season and that generated some laughter prior to a recent practice.

“We argue before the matches, but not during,” Violet said with a smile. “We communicate well and we’re honest with each other. Like when we need to change something, we’re not afraid to tell each other.”

The Kinneys are gelling well together and Violet feels they’ve got a sisterly advantage during matches.

On the team rolling through 3A KingCo and advancing deep into the postseason, Violet added: “I think as long as everyone just keeps working hard and being supportive, I think we got this.”

Senior doubles player Morrison is an inspirational and passionate leader on the court while helping guide her teammates toward success, according to head coach Jacquie Hartmann.

“I just have some great memories about the team, and right now I love the team dynamic. There’s so many great girls and it’s just a really supportive and caring environment and everyone’s kind of boosting each other up,” Morrison said.

Hartmann discussed the stellar qualities that the other captains unleash when tennis time rolls around. DeGracia (Tenacious C) brings grit, Garton is a strategist and Kinney is a warm and caring leader.