Tennis more than sport for Shepler

For Gwen Shepler, a sophomore nursing major, tennis is more than a sport, it is a commitment that takes a lot of dedication.

For Gwen Shepler, a sophomore nursing major, tennis is more than a sport, it is a commitment that takes a lot of dedication.

Shepler started playing tennis in seventh grade when she attended a summer tennis camp. Before that, she was involved in swimming but chose to continue tennis because it was more comfortable to her. During high school time at Washburn Rural, tennis became more of a serious experience for Shepler.

She was part of the league and city championship teams during her freshman year of high school and finished fourth in singles at the regional tournament as a sophomore. She placed at No. 1 doubles in the city, league and regionals finishing her high school junior year season with a 30-5 record. As a senior, she finished first in the city, league and regional tournaments finishing her season with a 26-5 record. 

She knew Washburn tennis head coach Dave Alden prior to playing for Washburn University during the 2012-2013 season.   

“I started taking lessons from him [Alden] my sophomore year of high school so I’ve gotten to know him really well,” said Shepler. “He’s pretty much the one who put my game together and taught me the things I know today.”

Last season, a good majority of the women’s tennis team were fairly new, including Shepler, which was both intimidating and helpful for her. 

“Going out and competing last season was a different level of experience,” said Shepler. “It is way more serious in college than it was high school and I didn’t know what to expect so it was a little intimidating. But this year is definitely a lot better because we’re not as nervous when we go out on to the court and I know what to expect. This year has definitely gone a lot smoother.” 

Shepler ended last season 9-17 in both singles and doubles play. She went 6-5 in conference doubles matches and 4-6 in the MIAA singles matches. This past fall she was 2-1 in singles play and began her second year after going 11-18 in singles action and 9-19 in doubles play. 

“Last year our record around this time was really bad and I think that was just because we were new to things and didn’t know what to expect,” said Shepler. “This year we’re making improvements. Our record isn’t what we want it to be, but it’s definitely better than last year. Our coach signed us up for a lot of tough matches this year and playing them is going to make us better. We’ve made a lot of improvements this season.” 

Shepler hopes the Bods will make it to the MIAA tournament at the end of this season. They will take on Northwest Missouri State University today at 3 p.m. on the Washburn Tennis Complex. 

“I am glad I went out for the team,” said Shepler. “It really becomes your second family. I can’t even picture not having tennis in my life I just love it.”