GLEN CARBON - Father McGivney Catholic High School tennis players Natalie Beck and Kennedi Taylor have made quite a name for themselves with their efforts in post-season play.

Natalie BeckBoth girls are now recognized as Byron Carlson Petri and Kalb Female Athletes of Month for the Griffins. The girls combined for a 3-2 record at the state tennis tournament this past weekend in an outstanding performance.

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The two are a strong doubles combination. Beck, a sophomore, said she is grateful for the time her coaches provided the squad to help grow the team.

“This is only Father McGivney Catholic’s second year of having a tennis program,” she said. “There is also no way I would be here without my dad, who played tennis in college and works with us all the time. My mom is my biggest cheerleader and keeps me positive. And my little sister by seven minutes, Maddie, inspires me so much and is an excellent practice partner.”

Callahan Adams, Jim Barenkamp, and Tana DeBouck are McGivney coaches and both girls praised them for their help. Adams was a legendary tennis player at Edwardsville High School who also played at SIUE. Taylor said her mom and dad have always been her biggest supporters and have always pushed her to be the best version of herself.

“My dad coaches me sometimes and gives me great advice,” she said. “My mom always gets my mindset right and helps me more on the mental side.”

Taylor said she has been playing tennis all her life and she has definitely connected with her doubles partner.

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“I have been playing since I was five,” she said. “I like that I have control in most of my shots.”

Beck said that she and Taylor bring different strengths to the tennis court.

“As a long-time player, she has excellent experience and knowledge of the game,” she said. “Although I am newer to tennis, I think playing soccer for so long has taught me that hard work, dedication, and refusing to give up are the only ways to win, so I try to work very hard at it. Tennis is my first more individualized sport, and I enjoy the challenge of that.”

Taylor said going into high school, she never did doubles.

“High school tennis made me realize that it’s not just about you and it’s about your teammates as well,” she said. “I have been more open and louder ever since coming into high school, I am also better at taking criticism.”

Taylor is interested in possibly a law career as well as astrology and literature for her future. Beck said she feels she wants to be a chiropractor in the future. She holds a 4.0 grade point average and said she also hopes to be a professional soccer player because she also loves that sport so much. Beck is also a guard on the McGivney girls' basketball team.

Congratulations to these two highly successful McGivney girls for their Byron, Carlson, Petri and Kalb Female Athletes of the Month honor after their state appearance.

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