Updated: Aug 20, 2019
By Tatyanna Scalisi. Sports Union
Photos by Geoff Schneider, Sports Union
As the auditorium is packed, you realize how much a student-athlete has going on their lives. Sometimes you forget that they have school and other engagements going on. You think of a student-athlete as an athlete first, second and third.
On this night, the athlete is gone from student-athlete. On this night Breanna Sikora has put down the racket and is now on the main stage.
The main stage is something that Sikora is used to being on. She has been on the Mount Mercy Academy varsity tennis team for four years. She has been on the cheerleading team and been part of Pure Magic - all while getting solid grades and heading to Gannon University in the fall.
She is what a student-athlete is all about. She plays sports while making sure her grades are intact - and taking part in other activities that are offered at the school. On this night is up on stage with others performing for a sold out crowd.
Earlier in the day, she was helping her teammates in a varsity tennis match. It’s all in a day’s work for Sikora.
“Between school, work, and sports/extracurricular, things get a little hectic. While I may be doing a lot and don't have as much free time as my friends- I like being involved,” stated Sikora. “Throughout my whole life I have participated in sports and extracurricular like foreign language club and pure magic show choir have made me very busy, but it's been a good busy. Participating in so many things has helped me make the most out of my four years at MMA and I wouldn't have changed it for the world.”
You could say that her tennis career at the academy has been interesting to say the least. Throughout the journey of a student-athletes career, they often learn to overcome obstacles and push themselves to experience new opportunities.
Whether it’s adapting to a new coach, trying a new sport, or dealing with limited resources due to weather conditions in Buffalo, Sikora has proven herself by overcoming these challenges on the tennis team.
Four coaches in four years can be tough for most players, but Sikora’s perspective and positive outlook provides an unusual insight that in her experience of having multiple coaches, each have brought with them new skills and abilities that have enhanced her performance on the tennis court.
Breanna considers her current coach Matthew Ondesko to be the most experienced and credits how he provides feedback and advice on how each player can improve their game.
“From day one, Bre has come into practice with the right attitude. She has taken everything that I have taught her and applied it to her game,” stated Mt. Mercy Academy tennis coach Matthew Ondesko. “She is a bright and intelligent young lady – and has a very bright future.”
Sikora’s bright future is all due to the fact that she can stay grounded. It’s not easy juggling everything that she has gone on with school. Oh, did we mention that she also has a part-time job.
That is a lot for anyone to handle. It takes a lot to be handle to balance what is more important - and just from herself. She needs to make sure she puts the best foot forward whether it is with Pure Magic, cheerleading or with the tennis team.
Just recently, Sikora, and the Pure Magic, competed over Spring Break in California. It’s just another feather is the cap for Sikora during her four years at Mt. Mercy.
“Over Spring Break, Mercy's music program is traveling to California to compete in Heritage Music Festival. Over the past four years, I have been in Pure Magic show choir and three years in Mercy's Women'c Choir. So, over the past four years I have been competing with Mercy in Orlando and Anaheim. While these trips are fun and we do more than just compete, like go to Disney, Universal and the beach, I love going to competition because it really shows how much our hard work has paid off,” stated Sikroa. “Pure Magic starts practicing at the end of August, so from August until April, we are focused on not only our songs, but things like tone, rhythm, dynamics and most importantly stage presence. After finally perfecting our show, its competition time. The past three years in Pure Magic, we won gold medals and the best in show award and the past two years, Women's choir has also received gold medals. I cannot wait to see the outcome of this year's competition, but I will be proud of us no matter what.”
On the court, Sikora has been through a lot with four coaches in four years, but she has always come to the court with a smile on her face.
This season, Sikora was named a captain of the tennis team. As a captain, she has supported the new players by explaining the rules, demonstrating proper techniques, cheering them on, providing feedback and how to achieve points.
This season, she believes the team is stronger and expects a more successful year based on the team’s focus on fundamental skills.
“We are a very strong team this year and have a lot of potential,” says Sikora confidently. “We’re all strong players both independently and together.”
One of Sikora’s greatest attributes in her tennis game is the ability to anticipate the placement of the ball. Tennis being a mentally tough and highly competitive sport, it requires a relaxed but focused mindset to help settle the nerves before a match.
“It’s [tennis] something that I have fun with,” says Sikora. “And I think me just enjoying the game doesn’t let my nerves get to me.”
Sikora would like to pursue playing tennis at a club or intramural level while she is attending Gannon University for nursing. While she is looking forward to attending college next year, Sikora mentions how the memories on the team will influence her life while attending Gannon.
Her favorite memory so far was playing doubles in the All-Catholics tournament during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Sikora’s overall experiences on the team has allowed her to establish many new friendships, play competitively in an enjoyable environment, taking a risk of trying something new, and offered a leadership role this year to pass on her passion of tennis to her teammates.
“Don’t be afraid to try something new because I would’ve never expected to play tennis in grammar school,” stated Sikora. “But freshman year, I heard that Mercy had a team and I kind of just went out for it.”
That’s kind of the type of attitude Sikora has. She just goes for it. She is a tense competitor on the court - but she also likes to have fun. She never takes herself too seriously and that kind of rubs off on the rest of the girls on the team.
On this day she was double-dipping. As soon as her match was over it was time to hop in the car and drive back to Mt. Mercy Academy. She was done with one performance, but now she had another team to help out.
The stage was set. The crowd was ready, and Sikroa up there with that smile on her face ready to go on.
It’s all in the day and life of Breanna Sikora. A balancing act for sure, but one she can no doubt handle.