Amelie Voutilainen (right) and Eleanor Courcelle (left) posing in their uniforms with their tennis coach Dana Miller (center) on the court. Photo via Eleanor Courcelle. 

Did you know that Franklin High School has its own state-level tennis doubles team? Amelie Voutilainen (12) and Eleanor Courcelle (12) have been seeing success in the sport since they started playing together in the 2019-2020 school year. In the local tennis community, they are recognized for their hard work and good sportsmanship. At the recent district competition, they qualified for the state competition. 

The two met in their freshman year when they both joined Franklin’s soccer team. The next year, they both happened to join tennis, a sport that was new to them. Tennis can be played in singles (1v1) or doubles (2v2), which makes it a unique sport because as a player, you can have a single other person as your teammate in a match. “Tennis is so different, because it’s really like you are part of a team, […] but it’s so individual […] it’s based on […] your individual skill. [I]f you’re playing doubles, you spend a lot of time with your doubles partner,” Voutilainen explained. Voutilainen and Courcelle practiced a lot at public tennis courts outside of their regular team practices, and have become close friends through that. “I feel like [with] spring sports […] how much you put in is how much you can get out,” Courcelle added. 

Although tennis is competitive, they made sure to highlight the friendly community around the sport. “Everyone is super nice and you spend time with [people when] you wait to play,” said Voutilainen. Even though the team is friendly, a healthy sense of competition is still present according to her. “When you go to these competitions, these tournaments, it’s fun. But also you’re like, ‘oh, like people are really, really into it’,” she said. Competition puts an extra motivational drive into practices and it shows on the court. Tennis doubles partners must be incredibly connected and practiced to make it to the state level. Courcelle explained that when you are playing tennis in singles (1v1), there isn’t a need to strategize and coordinate with a partner, which is something that she believes is unique about playing doubles tennis. 

The state competition was held on May 19, and the pair was the first in many years to make it to the competition for the Franklin women’s tennis team. Although they lost their first game and the quarterfinals of consolation, Voutilainen still says that “it was super fun!”

 It is a massive accomplishment to qualify and attend the state competition, and they were thrilled to compete at that level with other excellent athletes from all across Oregon.

Graduation is drawing closer, and that means the tennis pair will have to part ways. After high school, Voutilainen is planning on traveling in Spain and Courcelle is college-bound. They both said that they have developed a lasting love for tennis over the last three years and plan to continue to play—although non-competitively—in the future. Their tenacity and friendship made them such incredible players and they will continue to knock the ball out of the park (wrong sport, oops!), on and off the court.

%d bloggers like this: