Tennis State Champ Makes Opponents Take a Hike
Jenna Silverman loves playing tennis.
And she’s good at it. She won a Division 1 state championship last season when she was a sophomore at Bloomfield Hills High School.
But she needs a break from tennis sometimes. A big diversion is camping.
Shortly after becoming a state champion last spring, Silverman traveled far from her home in Bloomfield Hills for Tamarack Camps’ seven-week Alaska trip.
She was among the campers who spent 48 days hiking, kayaking, climbing on a glacier and fishing for salmon, all while learning about the values of Jewish identity, community and leadership.
“I’m a camping person. That was my ninth summer with Tamarack,” Silverman said. “I went on their five-week Western trip to Wyoming and Utah the previous summer.”
Besides giving her a mental break from tennis, the camping experiences help her physically for tennis, Silverman said.
“I’m sure all that hiking on steep trails in the mountains in Alaska made me stronger for tennis,” she said.
Silverman has quickly climbed to the top in the world of high school tennis.
After being the runner-up at No. 4 Singles in the Division 1 state tournament when she was a freshman, she won it all at No. 4 Singles as a sophomore.
There was a lot of pressure on her in the most recent state tournament. She entered the competition in Midland undefeated and the No. 1 seed in her flight.
“My opponents came into our matches with nothing to lose,” she said. “If they won, it would have been huge for them. If they lost, it was to the top seed.”
Silverman needed a rally and tie-breaker win to secure her state title. She defeated Hadley Camp of Midland Dow 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (11) in a hard-fought state championship match.
Also seeded No. 1 in the regional at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, Silverman lived up to her seed with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Stoney Creek’s Nina Munaco in the No. 4 Singles regional title match.
Bloomfield Hills won the regional and finished third at the state tournament for the second straight year.
Although tennis takes up a lot of Silverman’s time, she hasn’t let that affect her academically at Bloomfield Hills or prevent her from getting involved in other extracurricular activities. She’s a 4.0 student and a member of several clubs.
“You need to be very organized and disciplined,” she said when asked how she’s been able to do so well academically.
The 16-year-old’s academic goal is to study at the University of Michigan. She wants to follow in the footsteps of her older sister and brother, who both graduated from Bloomfield Hills and were four-year tennis players for the Blackhawks.
Jenna wants to begin her pursuit of a career in medicine while in Ann Arbor and possibly play club tennis there.
Her sister Brittany, 22, graduated from U-M in April and is in her gap year before going to medical school. Her brother Bradley, 19, is a sophomore at U-M, majoring in biopsychology cognition and neuroscience.
Their parents, both doctors, are Alan Silverman and Suzie Merkle.
Jenna said her tennis strengths are her forehand and power game. She needs to make her serve more consistent, she said, especially because it’s quite possible she’ll be moving up in Bloomfield Hills’ Singles lineup.
“It would be nice to stay at No. 4 Singles because I know I can do well there, but I would like the challenge of being higher in our lineup,” she said.
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