ST. CLOUD - For as long as she can remember, South Junior High 7th grader Ashley Tarrolly has loved playing tennis.

She’s been playing since she was two years old, even though the racket was almost bigger than her.

"Right around [that point] I picked up a racket and started hitting, I've been playing ever since," Tarrolly says.

South Junior High athletic director and health teacher Joel Heitkamp says he has a similar first memory of Ashley.

A young Ashley Tarrolly playing tennis (Submitted photo from Pam Tarrolly)

"I can remember her dragging around the tennis racket that seemed to be bigger than she was. I think just being around the game every day, hitting the ball against the building when you're six or seven years old, it's a great way to start."

All the practice is already paying off. Despite only being in the 7th grade, Tarrolly plays varsity tennis for Tech High School.

She was inspired to play for good reason, tennis is huge in the Tarrolly family. Ashley and her two older sisters Katelyn and Taylor all made it to state this year. Her Mom, Pam, says Taylor holds the school record for most wins ever for girls tech tennis.

Ashley made St. Cloud Tech school history by winning the Central Lakes area subsections and went on to win the conference sections championship. Ashley is the only 7th grader to accomplish making it to state as a team and individual participant.

"Getting to the state tournament was more of like a bonus on top of already winning the section and I just had a really fun time. Our team took 5th place, that was really fun and we broke some records this year."

Ashley credits her success to her competitive spirit and practices the sport year-round, often practicing with her sisters at Fitness Evolution over the cool winter months.

"I love working to win, I don't like losing-my favorite part is definitely competing."

Combined, the Tarrolly sisters won their doubles and singles subsections and sections. Ashley says she's quick to remind herself to enjoy the experience before every match.

"I always go into a match telling myself to try my best, to never give up and most of all just have fun because it's just a game. Even though you're competing hard, you still want to have fun with it."

 

Ashley Tarrolly (Submitted photo from Pam Tarrolly)