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Jakupcin, Harrison leading tennis team

The BG women’s tennis team has a perfect 3-0 record thus far in their winter season, and head coach Penny Dean has had a little help keeping her team motivated and focused.

This year, the tennis, squad voted in two captains-seniors Kelsey Jakupcin and Libby Harrison-to lead their team. According to Dean, two captains are chosen each year, as voted by their teammates.

“Sometimes I might have a small input, but not usually,” Dean said. “The girls make smart choices [choosing their captains].”

After being on the team for four years, Jakupcin says she is grateful for being chosen to lead her team.

“I’ve looked up to past captains, and I’m excited to have emerged into a leadership role,” Jakupcin said. “I’m excited to be the one that is looked up to now.”

Dean said she was happy with the result of the votes, and she feels both captains have the traits needed to be successful leaders.

“[They have a] good awareness of what our goals are and what every player needs to do to accomplish the goals,” Dean said. “They both set good examples as athletes and good life examples.”

Harrison also feels she and Jakupcin do their best to set good examples on and off the court.

“I’ve had a lot of good captains that I’ve looked up to,” Harrison said. “I feel honored to be in a role that allows my teammates to look up to me.”

Jakupcin is from Dublin, Ohio, and followed her sisters’ footsteps by coming to BG. Her older sister, Ashley, played for the tennis team. They were teammates for two years. During the 2007-08 season, Jakupcin was named to the Academic All-MAC Team. She is a communication disorders major planning to attend graduate school.

Though balancing school, tennis, and her leadership role on the team may seem difficult to some, Jakupcin says after four years, she has it down to a science.

“School is extremely important to me,” Jakupcin said. “I’ve learned to really manage my time and not procrastinate so I have time for the team and school.”

Harrison is a dietetics major from Dayton. Her father is a tennis professional, and got her and her older sister into playing when Harrison was 4 years old. Harrison will graduate from BG in the fall.

As captains, the pair try to make practice and competition fun. In order to do this, Jakupcin says she and Harrison have a pre-competition tradition.

“Libby and I do a traditional quote before each match,” Jakupcin said. “Some weeks we have a theme, but we say the quote and talk about it before and after the matches. It really gets everyone going in a positive way.”

The pair also tries to get the team together off the court.

“We try to get everyone together off the court as much as possible,” Harrison said . “That way we have a chance to get to bond and get to know each other better.”

As seniors, this is the last BG tennis season for the captains. Harrison and Jakupcin say it is bittersweet, but they are determined to make this their best seasons yet.

“It will be sad more toward the end of the season,” Harrison said. “Right now I’m just excited for each match, and not taking anything for granted.”

Harrison and Jakupcin will lead their team in dual home matches at the Perrysburg Tennis Center this weekend. The Falcons will face Xavier at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, and Cincinnati at 12 p.m.on Sunday, Feb. 8.

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