Bodner: Two titles in two years
by Staff Writer
by Cliff Mehrtens
Briana Bodner is building quite a tennis legacy at fledgling Hough High.
The first year the school was open, Bodner won the I-MECK 4A conference girls tennis singles championship.
This school year – Hough’s second – Bodner repeated as the I-MECK 4A singles champion.
Snagging two titles in two years, in a very competitive conference, help make Bodner the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Lake Norman-Area Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
She played at the No. 1 singles and doubles positions for Hough all season, and helped the Huskies finish 11-3 in dual-team competition. They finished second to Lake Norman in the conference, and earned a Class 4A playoff berth.
Unfortunately, the Huskies were bounced out in the first round by Greensboro Grimsley, which went on to win the state championship.
Bodner was dominant in the I-MECK 4A conference singles tournament. She won matches against Isabella Dokell (Lake Norman), Lauren Thompson (Hopewell) and Maggie Siebert (Mooresville) to reach the final. There she met Megan Mullen, Lake Norman’s No. 1 player. They’d split their two matches in the dual-team season.
Bodner cruised by with a 6-1, 6-1 score, and advanced to the regional tournament. She lost there in the first round, but it didn’t take away from a standout season.
A key to Bodner’s success was her increased dedication to tennis.
She often arose in the wee hours to train before school, which begins at 7:15 a.m. Then she’d mix in tennis practice after school, and often do more work after that.
“I wanted to do whatever other people weren’t doing,” Bodner said. “Whatever would give me the upper edge. There’s a competitiveness in me to be faster and better.”
Even if it included waking when it’s dark, and fighting through fatigue.
“At first I was extremely tired, but eventually it would become routine,” she said. “Then, if I didn’t go, I’d feel lost without it. It made me a lot more consistent, and my overall game developed a lot more.”
Hough coach Julie Fox said Bodner improved greatly.
“Briana did well last year, but she had more hunger in her this year,” Fox said. “She trained one or two days a week before school, but overall she’s playing six or seven days every week, depending on whether she has (an amateur) tournament. She had a hunger for it, and I saw her want to be better.”
“This year she stepped her game up in the areas of having strategy, and more power. I think she sees a future in it. A lot of times, kids are OK with being mediocre, or playing tennis and having fun. Briana wants to be better at it. She has goals, and is working toward those goals.”