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Kati Kwiatek helps Wildcats defeat the Black Panthers, 5-0

TIM WEIGHT/Special to the Sun-Gazette Central Mountain’s Kati Kwiatek competes at No. 1 singles against Milton on Monday afternoon.

MILL HALL – Last fall, Central Mountain’s Kati Kwiatek had the privilege of playing as the Wildcats’ No. 3 in singles. After the departure of two of her teammates via graduation, Kwiatek was catapulted into CM’s No. 1 spot.

Kwiatek didn’t allow the pressure to get to her according to Wildcats coach Pete Wert. Instead of letting the stage be too big for her, the senior has overcome the fear and competed well for CM all season long. Monday’s home match against Milton proved to be no different as Kwiatek earned the 7-6, 6-1 victory over Brooklyn Wade.

“Katie’s a really smart player and sometimes she tends to overthink a situation and it gets a little tight. She worked really hard and is a really good player. She’s had a really good season,” Wert said after Kwiatek’s victory over Wade. “She (Kwiatek) started at one doubles when she was a freshman and played a couple seasons there. There’s a big jump from three to one. The level of play is much higher, even with schools who tend to not have a good tennis team have good number one. You’re getting their best player it can be challenging every match. You don’t usually get a match out.”

Kwiatek is a competitive player who has a strong mental game according to Wert. The senior — who has been with the program for over four years as both a manager and player — has excelled as a both a teammate and competitor.

The jump for Kwiatek was different at the beginning of the season, she admitted. But the challenge brought out the best in her performance. As she was boosted to the team’s No. 1 player in singles, the support of her coaches and teammates came with it.

“It’s definitely different,” Kwiatek said in regard to her transition. “In number three the playing style is completely different and in number one I feel there’s a lot of pressure. With the help of my other teammates and friends, I have been able to keep it together.”

Kwiatek earned the win Monday and continued her strong season. She credits her friends and Wert for bringing out the best in her midway through the match.

“To be honest, I was not happy with it for the first set. After my friends talked to me and (Coach) Wert talked to me, I stepped it up and got a better mental health game. I’m happy with how I played the second set,” Kwiatek said.

The Wildcats earned the, 5-0, victory over Milton at the front end of a doubleheader to improve to a record of 8-4 on the season. Outside of Kwiatek, Ellie Gundy and Terresa Temple also picked up wins in singles.

Central Mountain 5, Milton 0

SINGLES

1. Kati Kwiatek (CM) def. Brooklyn Wade, 7-6, 7-1; 2. Ellie Gundy (CM) def. Madelyn Nicholas, 6-1, 6-1; 3. Terresa Temple (CM) def. Lydia Crawford, n/a.

DOUBLES

1. Ana Persun/Delaney Cohen (CM) def. Jordan Hackenberg/Aubree Colr, 6-1, 6-0; 2. CM by forfeit.

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