Some tennis players may look at filling the No. 2 singles spot after playing No. 1 singles the previous season negatively, possibly even viewing it as a demotion.
However, for Whiting's Grace Huss, it's definitely all about whatever the Oilers need. With the emergence of sophomore Brianna Baez in the No. 1 singles spot this season, Huss has excelled in her new position.
"Brianna Baez, she definitely spent a lot more time playing tennis than I did this summer," Huss said. "I had volleyball this summer, so I would go to tennis in the morning and then go to volleyball. She would be at tennis the whole day. She deserves the spot."
As of Monday, Huss sits at 16-0 at No. 2 singles for the Times No. 6 Oilers. With that success has come increased confidence in her senior year. That confidence has in turn led to better performances in her matches.
"I would just say being more consistent," Huss said of her biggest improvement. "Last year, I would want to smash every single ball I hit. This year, I learned that some times you have to know when it's right to smash the ball and some times you just have to place it. Playing at No. 2, the competition level isn't the same as last year, but I still have the mentality to beat the people I'm playing."
Whiting coach Arthur Young has seen Huss develop immensely since her freshman year, including in her leadership skills.
"Grace came to me with no tennis experience," he said. "She's just gotten better and better over time. She's been a leader from day one. That's not just leading by example. She'll take the time and actually teach what she knows, as well.
Huss will not play tennis in college, as the plans to attend IU-South Bend and major in dental hygiene. The time is now to continue making an impact and continue steering Whiting's program in the right direction. The Oilers won 16 matches last season, a school record, and captured the school's second straight sectional title before losing to Munster in the regional final.
"I just want to play every match without regretting anything," Huss said. "I just want to make sure I'm giving it my all and I'm not being lazy. I really want us to win sectionals again and hopefully make it to the regional finals again."