Mackenzie Conlogue plays tennis so well that she’ll be competing in today’s Round of 48 singles tournament at the Racket & Fitness Center in Portland. She enjoys it so much that she has constantly worked on her game to get better.

But as for why she came out for the tennis team in the first place … well, that’s a little bit of a different story.

“My neighbor played tennis,” Conlogue said. “She played tennis all four years of high school. So when I started high school, I realized it would be easier to get rides for tennis than for track.”

After playing on the junior varsity as a freshman and No. 2 doubles on varsity as a sophomore, Conlogue has been the No. 1 singles player for the Cougars the last two years. She’s helped Mt. Blue to a successful season and, today at 9:45 a.m., she’ll face Ellsworth’s Ina Maloney in a first-round of singles tournament matchup. If she wins, Conlogue will then face Falmouth’s Julia Brogan, the No. 5 seed.

Conlogue said she’s familiar with a lot of tennis players in the state, but Maloney is not one of them.

“I know nothing about her,” Conlogue said. “I think (Ellsworth) got first in their division, but that’s about all I know. I’m just going to have fun and try my hardest, and hopefully hit more balls back than the girl from Ellsworth does.”

Last spring was more of a learning season for Conlogue. A year after playing No. 2 doubles, she was squaring off against players like eventual state singles champion Maisie Silverman of Brunswick.

“She got beat up on pretty well and she didn’t like it,” Mt. Blue coach Judy Upham said. “I can’t remember what her record was, but she didn’t win very much.”

But mentally, Conlogue was ideal for that spot. One of her strengths is that she doesn’t let things bother her.

“I could put her in anywhere,” Upham said. “She, emotionally on the court, is very stable, very solid. She has a really good comportment on the court.”

Conlogue is also a smart player, and although she would like her serve to be more consistent, she can stay calm and determined long enough to sometimes simply outlast her opponent.

“She doesn’t have all the guns that people who have been playing since they were little have,” Upham said. “But she uses all the guns she has intelligently.”

Conlogue has also been able to expand her arsenal over the years. As a solid No. 1 singles player this spring, she helped Mt. Blue to a 9-3 record and the No. 4 seed in Eastern A.

“She loves tennis,” Upham said. “She plays every weekend. She plays with people who are better than she is. She takes it upon herself to get better. Because she plays where she does, that allows everyone else to play in their positions and be stronger in their positions. My other singles players have been great this year and my doubles teams have been good.”

This is probably Conlogue’s final season in any sport. She’ll have the team championships beginning next week, but come fall, she’ll be attending Lander University in South Carolina, where she plans to limit her competitive sports to possibly intramurals. At Mt. Blue, Conlogue played soccer and basketball in addition to tennis.

“It’s kind of upsetting, but I’m glad it’s tennis,” she said. “Tennis is my favorite season, so I can finish off with something that I really like.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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