Freshman Alena Kusok helped lead the Windermere girls tennis team to state in its very first season.
Windermere High freshman Alena Kusok was dominant for the Wolverines as the No. 2 this season for the girls tennis team. She helped Windermere win a regional championship and advance to state in Class 3A in its first season. In the regional final April 27 against Edgewater, the doubles match involving Kusok and her partner, Isabella Antonetti, was the deciding match and put the Wolverines over the top.
How valuable was the experience of making it to state?
It was a really good experience for the first year — we’re a brand-new team. I think we all came together, and it was a really big deal that we won regionals. So, I think it was pretty fun to go to state and experience that in our first year.
What was the most memorable match of the season?
We went against (Edgewater) in the season, and we lost to them, and I won my match (against their No. 2). Then during districts, I lost to her in a very close match. Then during regionals, I played against her again, and I won (7-5, 7-5), and the match took two hours and 45 minutes. That’s a memory that’s probably going to stick for a while.
What did you like about playing for coach Kevin Brandt?
I think he was a good coach — he led us through the season. He taught us a lot of tactics, which is very important. Tennis is like a chess game; it’s a mental game. He brought that to light for doubles, especially. Our athletic director (Mike Grenci) also helped us at states and regionals.
Which elements of your game are strongest, and what are you working to improve?
I like my serve a lot, and I think my forehand, and my forehand approach, are probably the best strokes of mine. … I want to improve my serve and improve the miles per hour. Other things are just working my backhand.
Is there a professional tennis player who you admire or try to emulate?
No, I don’t think so — I look up to my dad (Sergey Kusok). He’s not a tennis player, but he wrestles and does other stuff, and he’s a really good athlete. He’s very strong, and I’ve always wanted to be as strong as him mentally and physically.
What is your favorite class at Windermere High?
I think it would be (Advanced Placement) Biology — I like Mr. (Brian) Boylan a lot. He makes the class fun and not like a college class where you feel intimidated. The tests are hard, but I think I’m going in prepared for the AP exam and it was a fun year.
Do you know where you would like to go to college and what you hope to study?
For college, I want to do undergraduate somewhere in Florida, because there’s Bright Futures here and there’s more scholarship opportunities. Probably the University of Florida sounds good. I really want to go to New York for (grad school). I like the cold weather. … I want to become either a biomedical science engineer or a software engineer.
Whether it’s swimming or tennis, what is your go-to meal after practice?
Chipotle. I get carnitas tacos — those are my favorite. Another go-to meal would be sushi.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to bike and spend time with my younger brother. … I like biking more in the city — I really want to go bike in New York City or some big city.