Alexis Czapinski finding the success she’s been longing for

Focused Forehand: Senior Alexis Czapinski prepares to swing through a forehand shot. Czapinski's season has begun with her and her doubles partner, Logan Morrissey, ranked sixth in D2 in doubles competition.

It has been an exceptional start to the spring tennis season for the Ichabod women’s tennis team. They are currently 13-1 on the year and remain unbeaten in the MIAA at 4-0.

A big part of the early season success has been the play and leadership of senior Alexis Czapinski.

Czapinski is a native of nearby Lawrence where she attended high school at Lawrence Free State. Her mother is Sara Czapinski and her father is Mark Czapinski.

It was a successful high school career for Czapinski who placed at state all four years. Her best finish came as a senior when she played for a state title but fell to finish second.

Tennis has always been around Czapinski. Both of her parents play recreationally, but it was really her grandparents on her mother’s side that played a ton of tennis. They both played competitively as adults in tournaments at different clubs.

Czapinski’s younger brother, Erik, is a tennis player as well, but he plays at Ottawa University.

The beginning of Czapinski’s college career did not play out exactly as she had envisioned it. She began her career with two years at the University of Kansas. At the time she was lower in the lineup and was looking for something more.

“I realized that what I wanted out of my college experience wasn’t going to be just tennis,” said Czapinski. “And the level of talent and commitment required at the D1 level, especially as good of a school as KU is and was, I wasn’t going to get that full experience that I wanted.”

At that time Czapinski began to explore other options. When she found out that now junior Logan Morrissey was going to attend Washburn she saw an opportunity. Her and Morrissey have trained together and known each other since they were young.

Czapinski was given an opportunity by coach Lance Lysaught and has run with it.

“I had a great visit,” said Czapinski. “Everyone was super friendly. I knew people on the team, so I took a chance to see if I still wanted to play tennis or not.”

Washburn was the exact environment Czapinski was looking for to help her succeed and enjoy her time in college.

“I just wanted more time to learn and get more out of my education,” said Czapinski. “I wanted to make more friends, I had no social life at KU.”

The educational environment has been much better for Czapinski at Washburn. At KU most of her classes had 500+ students in them and she wasn’t able to get the hands-on learning that she needed to succeed. At Washburn, her biggest classes had maybe 150 students in them and she only had a couple of those.

Czapinski is now majoring in sports management after starting as an engineering major and later a design major at KU. She chose this path after discovering her passion for coaching. She has gotten her feet wet in the coaching field by working with junior players at the Jayhawk Tennis Club where she played growing up.

After she graduates in May, Czapinski has a job lined up to be an assistant coach at West Point, so she is excited to coach for the first time at the collegiate level and determine what age group of players she likes coaching the most.

Czapinski’s love for coaching comes from several motives.

“I think my skillset as a tennis player lends really well for coaching,” said Czapinski. “I’m not necessarily the best athlete or stroke producer, but I do have an analytical mind where I’m playing chess on the court and I have enough tools that allow me to do that, so when I coach that’s what the players need.”

When it comes to coaching junior players, she loves to see the young kids fall in love with the same game she fell in love with as a kid because at their age tennis is not a job. For them it’s just fun and she loves playing a part in their development.

At the collegiate level, Czapinski likes watching players compete and want to succeed so bad. She likes helping them on that journey and seeing everything come together and be successful on the court.

Czapinski experienced success of her own last fall when she and Morrissey avenged a tough loss the previous year at regionals to breakthrough and qualify for the national cup. It was an extremely special moment for both players.

“This year we came out really wanting to win,” said Czapinski. “And we did, and to do it with my best friend, the girl I’ve known since middle school and trained with, it was a really special experience.”

The relationship Czapinski and Morrissey share is a special one and a relationship that both women have gained so much from.

“She pushes me in the best way possible,” said Morrissey. “When we play she’s more of the thinker on court and she really challenges me to think more on the court. She just pushes me when I’m down and really brings me to be my best.”

Morrissey and Czapinski are currently the sixth-ranked doubles team in women’s D2 tennis and along with their teammates, who are currently ranked No. 8 in the nation, will be on the court again on Thursday in Emporia to battle the Hornets at 2 p.m.