Monmouth Academy graduate Ed Zuis returns a serve while playing tennis with fellow alumni Kaitlin Hunt and Amber Currie Tuesday at Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale. The varsity athletes and classmates started playing tennis with each other to exercise at a social distance. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal photo


Editor’s note: This is the seventh story in our new series “Everyday Athletes,” in which we talk with people who are out and about enjoying some outdoor recreation. Sports is all around us and we’re on the lookout. If you know someone who would make a great “Everyday Athlete” please contact sports editor Bill Stewart at [email protected]

FARMINGDALE — Soccer and track were Ed Zuis’s sports throughout high school at Monmouth Academy.

The past two summers, however, Zuis has picked up a new game.

Zuis, 17, started playing tennis along with a group of other Monmouth students under the tutelage of teacher Matthew Anderson, the boys tennis coach at Maranacook. Since then, the group has grown, and the participants’ abilities have improved.

Zuis, who is heading to Bates College, was playing with classmates Amber Currie and Kaitlin Hunt when he stopped to answer a few questions.

Q: How did you get into the sport?

A: When we were young we used to go the inside gym at Bates, and my dad bought us some of those cheap, dinky tennis racquets, and we would go hit around in there and play tennis. So when I was offered by Mr. Anderson to come out and learn a little bit more about the sport, I couldn’t turn it down. It just seemed like a lot of fun. And it definitely is fun, to get out here and be able to be outside and get more, different activity in.”

Q: How often do you play now?

A: “Probably a couple of times a week. I try to get out at least three times, whether that’s with these guys or just going to the Monmouth courts and playing against the volley wall. Now that I’ve started playing tennis I really enjoy it, and if there’s a tennis club at Bates, maybe I can do that. Because I have a friend that joined us last summer who graduated in the class of 2019, he joined a tennis club up in Orono and he said he really enjoyed that. I may as well keep my skills up.”

Monmouth Academy graduate Amber Currie returns a serve while playing tennis with fellow alumni Kaitlin Hunt and Ed Zuis on Tuesday at Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Q: Did you have a head start from playing before? Or did you feel you were starting from the ground up?

A: Definitely, last year, it felt very ground-up. Almost every shot, if we had one of those hoppers, half of it was going over the fence. And we definitely lost a couple of balls, I probably owe Mr. Anderson quite a few. But this year it started coming back more naturally, and it just feels a lot better. I’m glad it’s like that, because we can do a little more recreationally. We don’t need Mr. Anderson here all the time to show us how to not hit it over the fence.”

Q: What about tennis has come most naturally? What’s required the steepest learning curve?

A: I used to play baseball, so I’m used to, when you’re hitting a ball, you hit the ball. So definitely learning to control how and where to hit it has been the hardest part. But a lot of the moving around and stop and go of it seems to come pretty naturally, and I think that’s probably from soccer, when you have to stop on a dime to go a totally different direction. That seems to come really naturally.”

Monmouth Academy graduate Kaitlin Hunt, left, returns a serve while playing tennis with fellow alumni Amber Currie, right, and Ed Zuis on Tuesday at Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal photo Buy this Photo

Q: Is tennis something you might want to play competitively, or do you want to stay recreational?

A: I don’t know. I kind of thought about the inter-city tournament stuff, because the same friend that played with us last summer, he’s playing with us this summer, (and) we both love trying to improve our skills together. And we kind of talked about looking into tournaments and stuff, but that never really panned out until what was going to be this summer (season). I’ll definitely do this recreationally for a while, but if I can find a tournament, maybe I will (play).”

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