MIHS senior Manhas provides solid leadership on the tennis court

Co-captain sports a 3.9 grade-point average.

Playing steady and smart are two of the ways that Mercer Island High School (MIHS) senior Jaya Manhas excels on the tennis court.

It can all lead up to unleashing a winning shot, which gives Manhas a rewarding feeling.

“One of the main things I’ve always worked on is to be patient, wait for the right opportunity, so I think that’s the route I like to go for,” said the four-year MIHS netter, whose favorite shots are her backhand and serve. She plays No. 2 singles for the Islanders, one slot behind sophomore Rachel Garton.

Improving one’s mental game, hurdling obstacles in the way and overcoming pre-match jitters are other victories, she said.

“I’m just trying to enjoy all those little and big wins I can get because that’s one of my favorite parts. I think it’s the pride that comes with all your practice paying off,” added Manhas, who co-captains the team with fellow senior Sanam Karami.

Head coach Jacquie Hartmann calls Manhas, 18, an uplifting leader and a gifted athlete and student who sports a 3.9 grade-point average.

At press time, the Islanders possessed a 4-0 record and have heaps of energy, positivity and passion on their side. Its acronym MIGT (Mercer Island Girls Tennis) stands for motivated, inspired, grit and teamwork, which are values that all the team members deeply care about, said Manhas, who has played tennis since the age of 5.

The Islanders reaped immense success last season with a 3A KingCo tournament title and a state doubles champion team consisting of Garton and graduating senior Ava Chatalas. Manhas and graduating senior doubles partner Ella Simpson placed fifth at state after winning KingCo and districts; also at state, current junior Chloe DeGracia placed fourth in singles. In further team results, the Islanders took second at districts and state.

The Reporter asked Manhas a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Interrupting a conversation.

How do you put a tough situation into your favor?

I think it’s really important just to keep a positive mindset. Always look at the glass half full rather than the glass half empty, even when things aren’t going your way. Just count the things you’re grateful for and what you have in your control.

What’s a hidden talent that you have that maybe somebody wouldn’t know about?

I’ve always liked to cook since I was younger. I think my favorite thing to make is probably spaghetti.

What’s your dream job?

Anything with travel, like being a professional worldwide traveler.

What would be your ideal vacation spot?

Definitely Greece. I love Greece. I’ve never been, but I’m obsessed with the movie “Mamma Mia!” I always really wanted to go there.

What type of music do you listen to?

I like all genres. I like pop, hip-hop, I also recently discovered country — I really like country.

What’s a special skill that you’d like to learn?

Wake surfing.