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All-County girls tennis: Jeanne Marie got the Bulldogs the lead

Posted on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

St. Cloud High’s Jeanne Marie Gearity will be playing a lot of tennis this summer.

It won’t be around here, so her tennis racket won’t melt. It’s actually part of a college tour of some interesting campuses — Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Creighton, Duke, Notre Dame, Harvard, Brown and Rollins.

Why the whirlwind tour?

Because, with two high school seasons left after a very solid sophomore year, she wants to spend her whole summer break getting better.

Bulldog sophomore Jeanne Marie Gearity only lost matches this year to regional playoff-qualifying teams.

That could be trouble for Orange Belt Conference and District 4A-5 foes — she was already 12-3 in singles this season, with losses only to district finalists Freedom and Lake Nona, and combined with a 5-1 OBC doubles record earned this year’s Osceola News-Gazette Girls Tennis Player of the Year nod.

Gearity said after her freshman year playing a high school schedule, she felt like her competitive edge was better, maybe the best it’s ever been after taking up the game six years ago.

“I had great coaching this year,” Gearity said, a nod to Coach Jeff Bean and assistant Matt Peele. “Tennis is fun for me, so I know it’s going to be a fun summer.”

Gearity rode a big serve to the No. 1 spot in the Bulldogs lineup and a reliable win in matches, Bean said.

“I took over this year and knew we were going to be good , but had no idea this good,” said the coach. “Jeanne Marie was the one I turned to knowing she was coming back, and she did everything expected of her. We had confidence in our OBC matches; ‘Okay, Jeanne Marie is getting us the lead, let’s take it from there.’

With Gearity, Bean subscribed to the coaching theory of, “Coach talent, but let players play.”

“She is business like in her game but we’ll get a smile every now and then,” Bean said. “When her game wasn’t meeting expectations, I would ask her what she was doing wrong and she would know and she knew exactly what it was and then that would calm her down. When she was rolling along I would tell her, ‘Here is my coaching tip, blah blah blah, you’re doing great! The best thing is she is only a sophomore and we have even higher goals next year.”

While she’s on that whirlwind summer tour — she left last weekend — Gearity said she’ll be working on improving her speed and agility in order to become a well-rounded player and make a splash at the district and regional tournaments.

“I’m already excited for next season,” she said.

Girls Tennis All-County

Player of the Year: Jeanne Marie Gearity (SCHS, Soph.)
All-county team: Harmony: Mary Jacobson, Jacqueline Ryals, Tanea Spruill. Celebration: Beatrice Coehlo, Daniela Torres. St. Cloud: Samantha Singleton. Gateway: Sabrina Rodriguez.