Oda caps off memorable varsity tennis career

Stella Alexandropoulos, Staff Reporter

Soccer wasn’t going to be Peyton Oda’s sport.

When the senior star tennis player was about 8 years old, she started off playing soccer, but she soon realized it wasn’t going to be the best fit for her.

Her parents asked her to choose another sport to keep her active. Looking through a sports catalog, Oda felt that tennis was the one that stood out the most.

She wasn’t sure why, but it soon clicked. In October 2021, Oda capped off her senior tennis season by qualifying for state for the fourth time. 

“I was really happy with how I played and I ended up playing how I wanted to,” Oda said. 

Despite admitting that she felt a little stressed and nervous during postseason competitions, Peyton said she was excited to play with other competitors and use this as an opportunity for growth.

In the singles state tennis tournament, Oda won her first matchup against Olivia Bell from Bloomington, but Oda fell to Lizzie Isyanov from York. Oda advanced with two wins in the consolation bracket, but fell in the fourth round to Julia Ross from New Trier.

Despite falling short, the end result was all Oda needed to remind her of the strides she made in the sport she has loved most of her life.

“Every time before a match I always tell myself how much work I have put into this sport since I was 8 and I tell myself to backtrack,” she said. 

Oda also credited her teammates for her success over the last few years. 

“One of the main reasons why I play high school tennis is to have a team environment,” she said. “It’s really fun to get a sense of a college team and a team behind you while you’re playing.”

Oda said she is super excited to continue her tennis journey, improve on her skills and potentially take the sport to the next level. 

“I like the feeling that you can just make any shot possible,” Oda said. “It’s just kind of feeling invisible when you play.”