Olivia Brinker and Emma VanBuskirk had a pair of causes to be thrilled after they joined the Granite Metropolis women tennis workforce three years in the past.

They not solely gained varsity spots, additionally they have been chosen as doubles companions.

“I made a decision that I needed to start out enjoying tennis,” Brinker mentioned. “Then I requested Emma if she needed to play. She adopted by with it.”

Brinker and VanBuskirk’s three-year run as double companions got here to an finish on Oct. 12, after they misplaced to sisters Cali and Mackenzie Giertz of Alton in two units in a first-round match of the Belleville East Sectional at KingsPoint in Belleville. Brinker, a senior, performed her final match of her three-year prep tennis profession.

“She’s been a lot enjoyable to play with,” mentioned VanBuskirk, a junior. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with out her subsequent yr.”

This fall, Brinker and VanBuskirk have been the highest gamers of a Granite Metropolis women tennis workforce that had a number of victories, together with ones towards Roxana and Metro East Lutheran. Brinker and VanBuskirk have been the highest two singles gamers and performed at No. 1 doubles. 

“It’s most likely the most effective season we ever had,” VanBuskirk mentioned. “I really feel like we performed as a workforce extra. We have been so shut to one another.”

Brinker, who earned a third-team all-Southwestern Convention award in singles final yr, mentioned she and VanBuskirk have been trying ahead to enjoying one other yr as doubles companions this fall.

“I skilled a little bit bit over the summer season simply on my own on the park,” the senior mentioned. “Emma and I went on the market a number of occasions in observe. Her grandpa (John) was an enormous assist to each of us.”

Brinker was a part of a senior class that included Ashley Portell, Serena Vanesler and Payal Patel. She mentioned she’s going to overlook enjoying with the GCHS women tennis program.

“I needed I may have performed my freshman yr and possibly even earlier than that,” Brinker mentioned.

When VanBuskirk joined the ladies tennis workforce within the ‘16 season, she was the one freshman on varsity. She picked up a first-round victory within the Belleville East Sectional, beating Alton’s Sami Clayton in two units.

VanBuskirk mentioned her sport has improved loads from her freshman season.

“After I got here right here in my freshman yr, I actually didn’t know what I used to be doing,” she mentioned. “As my junior yr got here, I do know what I’m doing extra and Mrs. (Granite Metropolis head coach Linda) Ames helped that.”

Subsequent yr, VanBuskirk will lead a workforce of returning gamers comparable to juniors Rebecca Loftus, Jaedyn Black and Natalie Panagos.

“I just like the group of seniors subsequent yr that we’re going to have,” VanBuskirk mentioned. “I look ahead to spending it with them.”

Brinker and VanBuskirk are also teammates on the Granite Metropolis women soccer workforce. Final spring, they helped the Warriors win 13 matches.  

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