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Sophomore Reilly Vejar is in his second season playing at the No. 1 doubles position for the Hand boys’ tennis team. Vejar and partner Darby Rogers have a record of 11-0 for the Tigers. (Photo courtesy of Reilly Vejar )
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Reilly Vejar embraces the personal responsibility that comes with playing tennis. However, Reilly also enjoys sharing the responsibility with a partner while playing doubles for the Hand boys’ tennis team.
Reilly is a sophomore at Hand who’s been playing tennis since he was six. After playing No. 1 doubles for the Tigers last year, Reilly is teaming up with junior Darby Rogers at that same position this spring. The tandem has compiled an unblemished record of 11-0 and helped Hand win its first 11 matches of the campaign.
“I like tennis, because it’s more personal. It’s your own personal game in tennis, so there’s no excuses if you mess up,” Reilly says. “I don’t get too put off with a loss. I think I’m very determined. I know with more and more practice, I will get better, so I just keep staying on that path.”
Reilly and Rogers have a long-standing friendship. That chemistry helped them jell quickly as a doubles duo.
“I’ve known Darby a long time, so we have better chemistry compared to other teams. We also coordinate a lot better because of that,” says Reilly. “We also try to take things easier and laugh off some mistakes.”
While he likes playing singles, Reilly is intrigued by the additional elements that accompany the doubles game.
“Doubles involves more strategy, I think,” Reilly says. “In singles, there is strategy, but it’s a lot of placing the ball somewhere, having your opponent run to it, and repeat. You can do things like a fake out in doubles. It’s more psychological, which I like.”
At first, Reilly viewed tennis as more of an occupation than a hobby. As time has gone by, he’s grown to enjoy the sport more, while constantly adding to his skill set in the process.
“In the past, I didn’t focus on improving myself, and I just went through the motions. Now, I look forward to tennis and don’t see it as a chore,” says Reilly. “That helps me focus more on what I need to do better as a player.”
Head Coach Dawn Fagerquist says that Reilly exhibits characteristics that will make him an even stronger player, teammate, and leader during his upperclass years. Fagerquist knows that Hand has the perfect pairing with Reilly and Rogers at the top doubles spot.
“As a sophomore, Reilly has already shown good leadership and a good attitude among his team. Reilly brings drive and determination to all his matches,” says Fagerquist. “As a doubles player, he has great technique and strategy that works well with his partner. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right pairings, but with Reilly, he makes that easy, because he’s so easygoing and wonderful to work with.”
Hand is striving to defend its SCC and state titles this season. Reilly says the Tigers are focusing on each single piece of the puzzle, instead of looking too much at the big picture.
“We put a lot of focus on playing the best we can play, rather than just winning,” Reilly says. “We’re just about playing our best games, and I think that is what puts us ahead of other teams.”
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