Family tradition carries down from father to daughters

Just about every high school athlete has their eyes set on a big goal they want to achieve.

Austin incoming junior Reana Schmitt just wants to beat her dad, and maybe her sisters.

Reana is one of three Schmitt girls who plays for the Austin Packer tennis team and she locked down the No. 1 singles spot last year, with Chloe, who will be a senior in the fall, at No. 2 singles, and Grace, who will be a freshman in the fall, at No. 3 singles. The girls’ dad, Travis, is a 1986 AHS grad who played tennis under head Keith Paulson, the namesake of the courts at the Wescott Complex.

“I’m really excited for new opportunities, new challenges and to beat the old man,” Reana said. “I’ve beaten him here and there (on tiebreakers). He’s really good. It’s always competitive with the Schmitt’s, but we get over it.”

Travis, like his daughters, started playing tennis when he was in first grade and as he got older, he and his friends would bike out to the tennis courts, where they would put in quarters to keep the court lights on. Sometimes games would go until 2 a.m.

“Like anything, once you get better it’s more fun and it’s a game you can play your whole life,” Travis said. “It’s been fun to watch the girls grow up. Last year was really kind of exciting because they all played varsity. As a parent, it’s nice to go to one spot and watch all of your kids play.”

While Grace and Reana also play basketball, the Schmitt girls have always committed a good portion of their summer playing tennis to gear up for the fall season. Chloe is banking on her final season to be one of her best yet as she gets one more year playing with her two younger sisters.

“I’m just hoping to have fun and create more memories while playing my last season with Austin,” Chloe said. “Everybody on the team is really nice and we do a lot of fun things together. On the court, everything is different and you don’t really know how a person is going to play you from day to day.”

Grace is still learning the game of tennis and she picked up some solid lessons from her older sisters last season.

“It’s really cool that we were one, two and three singles in varsity,” Grace said. “They were really welcoming and nice. It was easy to join the (varsity) team.”

Austin head coach Jeff Anderson said the Schmitt girls have had a big impact on the Packers, who scored their first win since 2017 while maintaining a team GPA of over 3.75 last season.

“Having the girls on the team has made us better,” Anderson said. “They push each other and the other girls on the team. They are competitive with each other but that has pushed them to get better. It has not been an issue at all having them play close to each other, skill wise, on the team.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the Schmitts’ workout schedule, but Reana is ready to get back to playing – even if it is just with her family.

“It’s really nice with all of us being so close in age for us to have a chance to play together and make more memories,” Reanna said. “Every day (in tennis) everything is different. It’s always a new workout and a new play. It’s super rewarding overall for your health. It always gets easier, but every match has a new challenge that you need to overcome.”