Simple reminders help Poeppel stay focused on state tennis
Jasmine Poeppel sees herself at the state tennis tournament everyday.
Central High School’s No. 3 singles player is in her first full season of playing singles, and despite not having a plethora of experience, she knows where she wants to be in May.
“On a mirror in my bedroom I have ‘state’ written in really big letters,” Poeppel said. “So every day when I am straightening my hair, I can see myself at state.”
Poeppel has moved up into singles after playing mostly at the No. 2 doubles position for the Warriors last season. The junior has gotten better throughout the early part of the season, and after weekend wins over Durango (6-2, 6-1) and Montezuma-Cortez (6-1, 6-0), she hopes to carry that success into today’s match at Fruita Monument at 4 p.m.
“I think it has been going really well,” Poeppel said. “I like singles a lot better; I can’t blame it on anyone else if I lose so that’s easier for me.”
Poeppel’s story isn’t one of a tennis prodigy, but more of a curious athlete looking for a new sport. Poeppel first picked up a racket as a freshman and has grown into a strong player.
“I think I have improved so much from my freshman year,” Poeppel said. “Being able to get a consistent hard serve and hitting winners is something I am proud of myself for.
Poeppel is now in what might be her natural position as a singles player. Central coach Amy
Hart said Poeppel’s height and athleticism are better suited to play singles.
“For her, it was a good move because I think she is a better singles player than a doubles player,” Hart said. “She is tall, which makes her good at the net. And she’s aggressive.”
Although she is a better fit in singles, Poeppel has had to adjust to some of the rigors that go along with playing alone. She said the Western Slope Invitational earlier this month was a nice introduction to the singles game.
“Physically I have never been so sore than how I was after the Western Slope,” Poeppel said.
“Also, when you have a good shot in doubles you have a teammate to come and give you a high-five. In singles you just have to be able to tell yourself that was a beautiful shot, which can be really hard.”
But Poeppel’s desire for success in singles might be the fact she can see it. Poeppel said she likes to visualize herself playing well.
“If I can see myself doing well, that really helps,” Poeppel said. “Between serves, if I don’t picture myself doing a perfect serve, I will hit it into the net. So I have to visualize myself playing a perfect game.”
Poeppel takes on another first-time singles player when she faces Fruita Monument’s Janine Kirtland in today’s match.