Nixa tennis

Catherine Everett works on her backhand in preparation for today's Sectional at Kickapoo.

Catherine Everett isn’t looking to lighten her sunup to sundown schedule for at least another week or so.

Nixa’s No. 1 singles player who doubles as the lead drum major for the Nixa Crimson Corps Band, is fresh from finishing as the Class 2 District 10 runner-up last week. She’ll vie today at Sectionals for what would be her first State berth .

Everett’s daily weekday routine is band practice in the morning, school and tennis practice in the afternoon. Of course, the have been tennis duals and tournaments during the week and weekends and band competition on the weekend, as well. 

Not to be forgotten, she also holds down a part-time job.

“I stay very busy in the fall,” Everett said. “But I wouldn’t give up either one of them. I love both of them equally. Thankfully, my coach and band director work well together so that I am able to do both.

“I don’t get a lot of sleep. I can’t procrastinate with anything. That’s one of the things I love. It forces me to do my work.”

Everett was on her feet most of the day Friday while working her way to the District final. She netted an upset in the semifinal round by edging Kickapoo’s No. 1 singles player, Jordan Wersinger, in three sets.

The two also played in the team portion of Districts last week. The Lady Chiefs wrapped up a 5-0 victory before Everett and Wersinger could finish two sets. At the time play was stopped, Wersinger was up a set but Everett appeared on the verge of winning the second set.

Everett feels their first matchup helped her rally Friday. She prevailed 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-6).

“It helped boost my confidence,” Everett said. “I knew I had a legitimate shot. When I started losing again, I knew I could pull back and win the second set. Normally, I’m really hard on myself and if I would have lost to her on Tuesday, I think I wouldn’t have felt I had as good of a shot.”

“The biggest thing with Catherine is she’s such a competitor,” Nixa coach Brock Blansit said. “Her first set didn’t go very well. It would have been pretty easy for her to just say, ‘It’s not going to happen.’ But one of her biggest assets is she has such a desire to win and compete. She doesn’t give up.”

Everett lost in straight sets to Kickapoo’s No. 2 singles player, Jenna Swope, 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

“I was exhausted, had blisters all over my feet and had hurt my knee a little bit,” Everett said. “She had more endurance than I did and was serving great.”

Everett is unique in that she wears glasses while playing. She does so a bit reluctantly. 

“I’ve supposed to have been wearing them since the sixth grade,” she said. “I wore glasses for a year and switched to contacts. Then, I finally decided I needed glasses for tennis. Contacts just weren’t working out. I’ve stuck with glasses, even though they’re kind of a pain.”

Look for Everett’s forehand to possibly tell the tale of her chances to get to State.

“I’ve struggled with my forehand this season quite a bit,” she said. “But I’ve gained a little bit of confidence in it. I try to hit it to ( the opponent’s) backhand as much as possible and move them around and wear them out.”

“The last week or so she’s found something she feels more comfortable with,” Blansit said while talking about Everett’s forehand. “For her, it’s more about confidence. She hits it pretty big, but doesn’t have confidence in it. I think that leads to errors she normally wouldn’t make.”

Everett will meet Camdenton’s Darby Roam at Sectionals at 4 p.m. at Kickapoo.

“Coach did quite a bit of research on her and I think I have a shot,” Everett said. “I’ll need to stay confident and consistent.”

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