Varsity Tennis boys doubles head to State Tournament


Daniel Olivares

Coaches Jennifer Paine and Daniel Olivares stand alongside the boys doubles state qualifiers.

Megan Navarro

Sansh Kumar and Sanjaya Kodali tennis state qualifiers. (Daniel Olivares)


Varsity Tennis players Sansh Kumar & Sanjaya Kodali  finished at regionals as runner-ups in the boys doubles and have qualified for the State Tournament. The Boys Doubles state tournament will take place in San Antonio, Texas from May 20-21. 

Kumar has been playing tennis since he first picked up a racket at 9-years-old. Kumar’s target is to play Division-1 college tennis and gain a state title in his high school career. 

“My favorite aspect of playing tennis is that although it is an individual sport, I love having a team by my side cheering me on through tough matches and practices,” said Kumar. 

Kumar is motivated by his team and friends throughout matches and each brings out his best tennis. 

“I am a highly competitive person and this attribute drives me to give my best in all my matches,” said Kumar. 

Sanjaya Kodali began to take tennis seriously during eighth grade. Kodali is motivated to play tennis by the fact that he still has a lot of room to improve and he has a lot of fun playing. 

“My goals are to just get as good as I can get and keep pushing myself to the next level,” Kodali said. 

Coaches Daniel Olivares and Jennifer Paine see Kumar and Kodali daily and work with them to improve their game. Olivares and Paine set the groundwork for building rapport among their athletes.  

“I couldn’t have asked for better coaches; they’re always working hard to either find new drills to help us and they’re very patient with us,” said Kodali. 

Olivares has been coaching tennis for 11 years and this is his second year at Independence. Olivares preferred aspect of coaching tennis is seeing the kids succeed after putting in the work.  

“When the kids can finally realize that the work they put in will pay off and does pay off, it makes those long, tough practices worth it,” Olivares said. 

Both coaches make a conscious effort to let their athletes know they care about them. They push them physically and mentally on and off the court, while giving them praise and constructive feedback and of course, making practices fun and meaningful.

“We show them what it takes to be successful on the tennis court each day and, over time, it helps them become a better athlete and competitor,” Olivares said. 

Sansh Kumar serves the ball over the net. (Sansh Kumar )

Coach Paine works diligently with her athletes. “My favorite aspect of coaching tennis is developing relationships with students and seeing the improvements and personal growth they make over the years,” Paine said. 

The varsity tennis team finished third in the district losing to the district champions with a score of 9-10. This spring, Claire Callaway and Jonathan Kim finished third  in the region in mixed doubles.