Athlete of the Month: Summer Garrison ’18

Summer Garrison ’18 gets ready to smack the ball over the net in her warm-ups during practice at the LC Tennis Dome. (Photo by Kai Ward)

Garrison continues her upward surge through women’s tennis’ spring season

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor

In her first two seasons with Lewis & Clark’s tennis team, she has been named to the Northwest Conference All-Conference first-team, earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America honors, been the first Pioneer to go to the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Tournament and received the Pioneer Female Athlete of the Year award. Amid all of these accolades, Summer Garrison ’18 is only getting started.

Garrison started playing tennis when she was eight years old. Her affinity for the sport came from her parents and siblings, following their move to Ojai, California. “My brother was in ice hockey and my sister (Aurora Garrison ’16) was in ballet. Once we moved to Southern California, we all started playing tennis, and we were like, ‘why not?’” said Garrison.

After three years of varsity tennis in high school, which included trips with the International Tennis Federation to Cuba, Peru and Bolivia, she set about finding a college. “I came to LC because my sister was here. I visited her here, as well as the coaches. I knew I wanted to play tennis in college, and it seemed like a really cool team,” said Garrison.

Garrison has blossomed in LC’s tennis’ environment, and credits Head Coach Pat Dreves’ player development skills for helping her out. “I enjoy that tennis isn’t everything, and winning isn’t everything. Pat is very relaxed and is genuine about self-improvement,” said Garrison.

The team’s atmosphere has engendered a strong sense of team chemistry for all of the athletes, and it has allowed the team to get off to one the best starts in their history (6-0 in the Northwest Conference), which includes Garrison’s 4-0 singles record and her 4-0 doubles record with her sister, Aurora Garrison.

The Garrison sisters are amongst a strong core of athletes for women’s tennis, which includes Christine Eliazo ’16 (6-0 in singles), Claudia Lew ’18 (5-0 in singles) and Wiktoria Plawska ’17 (4-0 in singles). The team’s performances in doubles have also impressed, with the pairing of Plawska and Kacey Incerpi ’18 going 3-1, while the Incerpi/Aurora Garrison pairing has gone 2-0. Overall, the team is 28-8 in singles matches, and 13-5 in doubles. This core of athletes currently sits atop the NWC, and looks to take the NWC Championship for the first time in the history of the program.

Garrison is confident in the team’s chances this season. “I think we could go to nationals this year. The one main team we faced last season (Whitman College), lost the Lawless twins (Courtney and Morgan Lawless), so I think we could go to nationals,” said Garrison.

The team’s strong comradery has also played a role in Garrison’s pregame ritual. The team bonds over a box of bagels before each home and road match. “I’ll usually have about two or two and a half bagels. It’s a nice bit of carbs” said Garrison.

Summer Garrison has not limited her tennis activities to the team. She has also started teaching lessons and hitting balls for kids at the Tennis Dome. “That’s really fun, even if I don’t do it as a full-time thing. Maybe just coaching on weekends will be really cool,” said Garrison. Summer Garrison’s contributions, both at the matches and outside practice, will continue to push the team forward through the NWC competition.

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