Playing tennis runs in the family for Spartan

Sumner tennis players (left to right) Cody Jagowdinski

Sumner singles player freshman Zaylan Jacobsen comes from a tennis family.

It’s in my blood, he said. Family members on both his dad and his mom’s side are tennis players.

His oldest memory of playing tennis is when his grandparents would take him to the Sumner tennis courts and toss him tennis balls when he was 5 years old, he said.

Jacobsen has played many sports from soccer to baseball to swimming but he said he hasn’t found a sport harder that tennis.

“I like that it is an independent sport,” he said. “It not only tests the player’s physical ability but it is also a mental game.”

Jacobsen has great technique, coach Chris Heacox said. He has a lot of experience playing in matches, so he doesn’t get nervous like a lot of other kids would when playing. He understands what his strengths are and he knows how to use them, Heacox added.

The Spartans went undefeated in regular season play finishing 12-0. Jacobsen said it feels good to go undefeated as a freshman.

“I know I have three more years to get better,” he said. “It was great to represent our school in a good way and get a title as a team.”

Jacobsen went undefeated, never losing a match. He credits his success to the fact that he played every point as if it were match point.

“He’s good at exploiting weaknesses in his opponents and he’s also good at making adjustments in the middle of the match,” Heacox said.

Being an underclassman hasn’t had much of a negative effect on Jacobsen at all.

Heacox said he fit right in and became friends quickly with the other players, a lot of whom are upperclassmen. He also has raised the level of play for the other two singles players, Heacox added.

“You could really see all of them working hard to improve because they all wanted to be number one,” he said.

Over the next three seasons at Sumner he looks forward to the chance to win individual titles such as state and district champion.

The future for Sumner tennis looks good, Heacox said, because there a lot of talented kids on the team and that will be joining the team.

“Having Zaylan makes us that much better,” he said.

After he graduates, he wants to go to Stanford, the University of Washington or Gonzaga and play tennis while majoring in engineering.

His family hopes he attends the UW, Jacobsen’s mom Darcie Jacobsen said. Jacobsen’s dad and grandpa played for the Huskies and if Zaylan goes there, they will become the first three generation tennis family to play at the U, she said.

He said he has thought about playing tennis professionally but after he finishes college.

“It would be cool to do but it isn’t what I’m planning on,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen competed in the West Central District tournament on Nov. 1 and 2 in Bremerton and the team placed second overall. He finished second in singles and will advance to the state tournament in May.

All five players, three singles and one doubles team, Sumner took to the district tournament advanced to state.

It’s incredible to take all five to state because in my first eight years as coach, Sumner only sent two singles players and one doubles team total, Heacox said.