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The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

The home for coverage of all FHC athletics

FHC Sports Report

Senior Lily Ohlman will graduate as the greatest female tennis player in FHC history


As one, final prolific chapter is approaching for senior state champion Lily Ohlman, she wants to show her gratitude to the sport of tennis that has shaped her into who she is today. 

“I love it so much because it’s freeing,” said Lily, who was FHC’s first-ever girls #1 singles state champion last year. “It’s brought me so many opportunities that I’m so grateful for, and I love it because it’s given me a chance to impact the people that will come in my place.”

Just like many young athletes, they get into their sport and find the passion from a role model like a professional athlete, but sometimes the role model is a parent. That was the case for Lily, as she and her dad—who played tennis at FHN when he was in high school—have bonded over the sport. 

“I started to play thanks to my dad,” Lily said. ”When I was super young, he would take me out to the courts, and we just hit. I started to play probably when I was four, and then for a few years, I would just like to hit on and off with him.”

As tennis started to ramp up for Lily around the age of ten—when she got her first coach, Lea Jansen—she went through a lot of growing pains and self-confidence, just like most athletes do when they are trying to find who they are as an athlete and how to win. Lily felt this especially when she was going against some of the hardest competition in the state and switching clubs from MVP Sportsplex to GR Racket. 

“There were definitely parts of my life where I doubted if I would ever be good at tennis,” Lily said. “Although I had great competition at GR Racket, it wasn’t working for me.”

But despite the doubt and lack of confidence, around the time of COVID is when Lily knew she was turning a corner and was only going to excel from there. She started to win against people she didn’t think she could previously. Also, in that same season, she switched back to MVP Elite—the same place she struggled at originally—and started to thrive in that same environment that wasn’t working prior. That’s when she finally started to feel the confidence that came along with being a great tennis player and the sense of belonging, as well. 

 “After COVID, I kind of had this mental breakthrough where I just started believing in myself a lot more,” Lily said. “That came into my tennis career.”

After years of dedication and determination, even when the times were rough, Lily became the first female ever in FHC tennis history to win a one singles state title. She cemented her legacy as the greatest FHC girls’ tennis player of all time.

There was a lot of self-reflection after something this monumental happened in her life. A lot of emotions come with such a mighty task being completed, and Lily was at the center of this after winning her state championship. 

“Before winning states, I always felt like I was a good tennis player, and people perceived me to be good, but after that, and especially coming back to school, I feel like everything has changed,” Lily said. “It helps me to feel much more confident in myself about next season. I definitely believe that I can win states twice now after all the confidence that came with winning states last season.” 

As Lily approaches her last year of tennis ever and after having such a life-changing season last year, it’s easy to have way too much confidence and be cocky and arrogant, but Lily is the opposite. Instead, she is thankful and appreciative of tennis and what it has brought her in her life. 

Some of the greatest moments Lily is grateful for with the sport are some of the smallest ones in other people’s eyes. For instance, she loves when the middle school girls come to watch and ask questions on how to get better. 

“I love tennis because it challenges me to grow as a person,” she said. “It has taught me to connect with other people, something that we all love so much, and it’s freeing. It’s brought me so many opportunities that I’m so grateful for.” 

Lily has shown a lot of appreciation for the sport, but a bigger reason she is so successful and has had such an amazing career is the people who have impacted her and taught her since she was four years old. She wouldn’t be able to have the success or the status she does now as a tennis player without these very impactful people in her life. 

“I owe lots of my tennis career to my dad. Again he was the one to start me off playing,”  Lily said. “My coach, Scott Kenyon, encouraged me to focus on my well-being rather than my skills and technique, which helped so much. I have another coach to be thankful for: Clay Hodge. His constant support and tips make MVP such a great environment. I’m also dearly thankful for Brian, Sydney Liggins, my friends at MVP Elite, my high school team, and coach Dan Bolhouse.”

As her senior season approaches, Lily reflects on her career in tennis and has a message for her younger self. 

“It will have all paid off beautifully; that your struggles in tennis now will make your future state championship even more worth it,” Lily said. “You’ll finally find the most supportive and lovely tennis environment. And to think that now I’ve become the best female [high school] player in the state. I’m so grateful to have accomplished the things I have.”

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Eli Lipke
Eli Lipke, Staff
Eli is a junior at Forest Hills Central High School, going into his second year on the FHC sports report team. Eli is a huge sports fan and loves to watch the NHL, NFL, and college football the most. Eli also plays varsity football, hockey, and soccer. Sports are Eli's favorite activity on the planet; he wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Eli loves to spend every moment of his time playing and watching sports. Something he loves: The world of sports Something he hates: Heights and roller coasters Something he wishes he did more: He wishes he would travel more His favorite food: Wings  

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