Stepping into the No. 1 singles spot as a freshman is no easy task. Three years ago, Cary-Grove’s Bethany Marshall went up against juniors and seniors as the Trojans’ top singles player.
Marshall took her lumps as a freshman, but it paid off. She won the Fox Valley Conference Tournament No. 1 singles bracket as a junior and senior, and qualified for the IHSA Class 2A state tournament both years.
In addition to winning an individual FVC singles title in 2018, Marshall helped C-G win its first FVC Tournament team title since 1981. It was a historic performance, with the Trojans winning four of the seven flights at the FVC Tournament.
Marshall won one match at the Class 2A state tournament. She hopes to play tennis in college at the Division III level.
For her performance, Marshall earned the 2018 Northwest Herald Girls Tennis Player of the Year award. She recently spoke to the Northwest Herald about the 2018 season, her lucky visor and her biggest hero.
What was your favorite moment from this season?
Marshall: Definitely conference. The championship match was on Court 1. The viewing area [inside] at The Racket Club is pretty small. So I just had my entire team and friends and family there cheering me on. It was such a good feeling.
What’s it like on the other side of the window? Can you see everyone watching?
Marshall: Yeah, it’s just glass. You can see everyone, and you can hear everyone, too.
Your team won its first FVC title in a long time. What was it like to be a part of that?
Marshall: It was super rewarding because I’ve been on varsity, No. 1 singles since freshman year and nothing like that has ever happened. It was super cool. [Longtime C-G coach] Bud Lachel was there at our awards night. I talked to him for a little. That was super cool.
What’s it like playing at state?
Marshall: It’s intimidating, seeing these girls that have personal trainers, and they’ve been playing USTA tournaments every weekend. They’re clearly really good. You just have to go out and play your best game.
All the girls are super nice. You make friends on the court, too.
How did you get into tennis?
Marshall: My dad [John Marshall], he played when he was younger. He started me out really young. I was like 4 when I started at The Racket Club. When I was 12, I broke my foot. That set me behind a lot.
Is there anyone you style your game after?
Marshall: Simona Halep. She’s a Romanian tennis player. I’m Romanian, too. We’ve never seen a female Romanian professional tennis player. So she’s someone I look up to and someone I follow. Both of us play side-to-side. We mix it up more than just back and forth, back and forth.
Describe your playing style for me.
Marshall: I try to mix it up between slicing, hitting it cross court, lobbing it, coming to the net. I don’t really like to just hit it back and forth. My biggest pet peeve is when girls constantly lob the ball back and forth.
Who is your funniest teammate?
Marshall: Alina Krembuszewski. She’s part of the No. 1 doubles team. Anything she does is funny without even trying.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions?
Marshall: I have a lucky visor that I’ve been wearing for a long time. It’s got a big sweat stain on it. It’s pretty gross. The hat is a gray Puma hat. I wash it. It’s just a permanent stain.
What’s a long time? Before high school?
Marshall: Yes, way before high school.
Is it coming with you to college?
Who is your biggest hero?
Marshall: My dad. My parents grew up in a communist country. My dad had to run away at like 19. His first time attempting to run away, he got caught. On the train, when the police were taking him back, he jumped off the train. His story is incredible. My sister and I keep trying to convince him to write a book. He’s sacrificed so much for us. Anything I do is for him.
Do you have any nicknames?
What are three of your favorite movies?
Marshall: “The Grinch.” I know every line. “Ace Ventura.” Those are my top two. And Disney movies, the classics. “Black Panther” was a great movie, too.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Marshall: English. I want to go into speech pathology.
If you could pick a superhero power, what would it be?
Marshall: Read minds.