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Kayla Shenk serving aces on the court and in the classroom for Delaware Valley Friends

Paoli >> The Tri-County Independent School League has taken a page out of the Mylan World TeamTennis book, featuring co-ed tennis in the spring at some select league institutions with smaller enrollments.
At Delaware Valley Friends School, a small private school for grades 3-12 nestled behind the Paoli train station, freshman Kayla Shenk had the opportunity to take the court for the Dragons co-ed tennis team this spring. Playing eight-game pro sets, Shenk made the most of her opportunity, losing only one match at No. 1 singles.
“The mission and philosophy of the Tri-County Independent School League, which Delaware Valley Friends School takes to heart, is to provide opportunities for student-athletes to develop skills in leadership and teamwork within an environment of fair play, mutual respect, and fun,” said Delaware Valley Friends Director of Athletics Jalal Rhamirich. “Kayla is someone special and who everyone looks up to. She is one of the best student athletes who has represented DVFS.”
“It really means a lot to me that DVFS has a co-ed tennis team,” said Shenk. “I am so glad the Tri-County League is very passionate about a co-ed team just as much as I am.”
Shenk’s ability on the court, coupled with her development, made the perfect recipe for her to lead this young team.
“I always tell the players, never give up, always believe in yourself, and always stay focused,” said Shenk, who is also affectionately known as Shenkapova named for her favorite player on the WTA Tour, Maria Sharapova. “I always want them to just know that the coaches [Jeff and Roni Sacks], our Athletic Director [Jalal Rhamirich], our Assistant Athletic Director [John Maglio], and I believe in them and want nothing less than to give it their all. That’s what counts most to me. Whether they win or lose, all I expect of them is to try their best.”
“Kayla has all the qualities you want starting with setting an example for others caring for her teammates,” said Rhamirich. “Being a team leader, she is always pushing herself and others to be better.”
“Kayla has improved every year since sixth grade,” said DVFS head coach Jeff Sacks. “If she continues to improve she’ll likely play tennis in college.”
DVFS coach Roni Sacks added, “I have watched Kayla for the past three years and have been amazed at her continued passion and dedication for the sport and how well she has assumed her position as an inspiration and role model for her teammates.”
Shenk is no stranger to the court, having played since the tender age of 8.
“It was after my very first lesson when I decided to take my game to the next level,” said Shenk. “I was very interested in wanting to compete. I am a very competitive person and I always loved challenges and the feel of pressure. I was so eager to start competing. It just went from there and I kept improving.”
Along with playing for Delaware Valley Friends, Shenk also plays USTA Middle States tournaments throughout the year.

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