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Local Racquetballer Represents in Worlds

Julia Coin, Sports Editor

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Photo courtesy of Elena Dent

While most students at Fort Myers High School are acquainted with the school sponsored sports, many fail to realize that some of their classmates practice and compete in sports outside of school. That is exactly the case with one of FMHS’s very own, Elena Dent.

At just 8 years old, Dent was introduced to a sport that would take her to the 2016 National Junior Olympic Championship and the Junior World Tournament: racquetball. At this time, she was residing in Lumberton, North Carolina and her mother, who had practiced the sport in college, encouraged Elena to join the gym as soon as she was old enough. Just four years after being introduced to racquetball, Dent played her first tournament at age 12, and from there her career with the sport she’s grown to love has kept looking up.

Dent qualified for the Olympic Team by finishing first at the national tournament with her doubles partner, Nikita Chauhan, who hails from California. On top of that amazing achievement, she was also deemed the first singles alternate by placing third in singles at that same tournament.

All these accomplishments did not come without hard work, of course. Elena practices four days a week at LA Fitness, depending on her homework schedule (we feel you, girl). And all that work has most definitely payed off, as just a month ago she played in the Junior World Racquetball Tournament from November 13th to November 19th. When asked about her experience there, Dent replied: “I loved playing there and had so much fun. I’ve made friends from all over the world that I still keep up with. It’s such an honor to represent the United States at such a big tournament.” In reference to the tournaments, Elena said, “They have taught me more about what I need to work on in my game, how to handle high pressure situations, and how to put my emotions away and only focus on my game when I’m on the court.”

Elena’s feelings about her sport are similar to that of many other athletes. As for her reasons for choosing racquetball as the sport she’ll pursue, she reveals, “I love the feeling of winning, and of just being on the court. I play because it keeps me active, it’s so much fun to play, and I’ve met so many amazing people through the sport.”

After these two major tournaments, Dent says she is inspired to train even harder before nationals in 2017. One thing is for sure, her fellow Greenies are rooting for her to achieve just as much in the upcoming year and many more to come.

 

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