Athlete of the Week: Kennedy Harris


Lukas Werner

Balancing schoolwork and tennis isn’t usually a problem for freshman Kennedy Harris, she said.

Natalia Gonzalez, Assistant Editor

Freshman Kennedy Harris has been playing tennis since she was five years old, first picking up a tennis racket nine years ago. She started playing competitively three years ago at a tennis academy. 

A few of her family members have participated in tennis as well. “My mom played in high school — she wasn’t very good — and my dad doesn’t play, but my brother does and he’s really good,” she said. 

Joining the La Salle tennis team wasn’t a hard choice because, “It’s been my dream since I was nine to play high school tennis and I just want to see that through,” she said. 

So far, Harris said she has been enjoying the team, even with their previously scheduled matches being rescheduled because of the rain. She likes the community and finds it fun to meet new people. It’s also a nice break from the rigor of the academy training, Harris said.

“It’s a lot more fun here because it’s more loose I guess, and a break from all the really good kids,” she said. 

With the academy, Harris practices at the University of Portland. She has group lessons four times a week for two hours and sometimes has private practices with her coach on Fridays for an hour and a half. Harris is continuing to practice with the academy during the high school season. To balance it out she switches weekly between high school and academy. 

Harris’s favorite thing about tennis is “the freedom to play by yourself or with someone else,” she said. 

One thing Harris finds to be her biggest accomplishment is that “my mindset in the last couple of months has really changed,” she said. “I think I’ve put more thought and effort into practices together.”

Along with the practices, Harris attends tournaments on the weekends. There used to be more local tournaments that she could go to but now she has to travel farther for tournaments. Harris’  performance in these tournaments impact regional and national rankings. Harris is ranked ninth in the Northern Oregon district, girls 16 and under. 

Harris plays indoors as well as outdoors for tennis. She prefers indoor tennis because “I play a lot better,” she said. 

To get ready for matches Harris relies on a good warmup, including dynamic movements and shadow swings. She also likes to sit by herself and think. 

Old rock music is what gets Harris pumped for matches. Specifically bands like Queen, The Beatles, and other artists like David Bowie. 

One thing Harris wants to work on is her confidence. “Sometimes I lose that, and then everything just goes downhill, so making sure that I believe in myself when I’m fighting,” she said. 

An athlete that Harris looks up to is Ashleigh Barty, an Australian tennis player, for her skill and her stature. Barty is only 5 feet and 5 inches tall and this is something Harris looks up to because she has worried about her height in tennis. 

In the future, Harris plans on playing tennis in college. The University of Portland is her main target. “I know the people there, so I have a connection,” she said.