Mar. 27 was an exciting day for many spring athletes as they began their competition for the spring season. Noah Sellinger ‘21 and Jessica Sommer’ 21 were especially eager to take the court since they were recently announced captains of their respective teams ahead of the 2021 season. In his fourth year with the men’s team, Sellinger currently leads with 41 career wins, including a 23-23 mark in singles. As for Sommer, who has also been competing for all of her four years at Muhlenberg, she is the leader of the women’s team as their only senior member. She has come a long way since landing her first career singles win by defeating an opponent from McDaniel College, 6-0, 6-1, in a 2019 Centennial Conference match.
Sellinger was named captain after just one year on the team, and his ability to influence others has kept him in the role ever since. He secured a doubles point in the men’s tennis team’s season-opening victory with a 6-3 Centennial Conference win at Gettysburg College this past Saturday, Mar. 27. Sellinger is always looking out for the whole team, and this undoubtedly contributes to their success. “It felt great to be named captain, but I don’t view myself as the only leader of the team because it takes a team effort,” Sellinger said.
Besides being the team leader, Sellinger sees his primary responsibility as, “just making sure that everyone’s prepared and focused for each practice and match.” In his final season, he wants to make sure that he leaves a memorable and lasting impact on the program. For Sellinger, his main goal is for “people to be proud of Muhlenberg tennis.” He wants everyone on campus to be aware of the program’s overall success, and kicking-off the season with an overwhelming win is an excellent start.
Sellinger knows that it will take a lot of hard work to maintain the success, especially as their Centennial Conference opponents’ rigid schedule continues. “We need to make sure to stay focused and take one match at a time,” Sellinger said.
On the women’s side, Sommer was extremely honored to receive the captain’s title for the spring 2021 season. Her positive and enthusiastic attitude proves to be essential to the culture of the team. “Being a captain is about setting an example for your younger teammates and keeping a positive and competitive attitude,” said Sommer.
In their season opening contest, Sommer made sure that everybody motivated each other to play to the best of their abilities against Gettysburg. Although the Bullets won 9-0, the Mules were able to see a lot of encouraging play from the younger players. As captain, Sommer emphasizes the importance of working as a team and always building each other up. “Tennis truly is a mental game,” Sommer said. She makes it clear that the challenge is always working on how you can improve yourself.
After graduating, Sommer hopes to leave a lasting impression on the younger athletes’ overall mental and physical attitudes. “The biggest thing I would want to leave my teammates with when I graduate is the attitude that our biggest competition is always ourselves,” Sommer said.
This advice and sense of leadership from Sommer is crucial for Muhlenberg women’s tennis to produce a successful and productive season during these unprecedented times.
Sellinger and Sommer are dedicated student-athletes who share a passion for tennis and embrace mentorship by inspiring their teammates both on and off the court.
The two of them are excited to take on the rest of the tough spring season, hoping to lead the Muhlenberg tennis program to victory in the Centennial Conference.
The Mules will continue on to face another conference foe in their second match this Saturday, Apr. 3 at Franklin & Marshall College.