By John Kovach
The Spartan tennis player earned first-team all-Federal League honors.
BOARDMAN — An early start playing tennis has led senior Carolyn Jesko of Salem and Boardman High to a full scholarship to Youngstown State University.
Jesko, a four-year starter and All-Federal League first-team selection for the Spartans, signed a letter-of-intent recently to continue her tennis career with the Penguins under Coach Michelle Grim.
“I started playing [tennis] when I was 5,” Jesko said. “My Grandma, Sophia Juruaz, took me and my sister, Annie, to a free summer clinic at Wick Park when I was 4 and my sister Annie was 6.
“But I wasn’t allowed to play because you had to be 5,” Jesko said. “But I went the following year with my sister to take lessons at the Boardman Tennis Center and I also did clinics.”
She found that she loved the sport right from the beginning, and has played tennis ever since.
“I always liked doing whatever my sister did,” Jesko said. “She liked tennis and I did, too. I like it because it is an individual sport but I also can play with my sister at doubles.”
Carolyn was Annie’s doubles partner at Boardman.
The sisters qualified for the state meet last year, and won in the first round before being eliminated by the eventual state champions. They were selected to the All-Ohio team.
“Annie played tennis at Boardman, but she is not playing in college. She is a freshman at YSU,” said Carolyn, who also was team captain this past season under coach Shawn Hyden.
Jesko said she had other college offers.
“I only really paid attention to YSU because that is where I wanted to go,” Jesko said. It’s a Division I school and the competition obviously is better in Div. I.
“Also, it’s close to home and I can still live on campus, and I wanted to be near to my family so they can come and watch,” Jesko said. “And I really like the coach, Michelle Grim.”
Jesko (5-foot-9, 145 pounds) said she believes her main assets as a player are “my serve with my height, and I like to volley and come up to the net. I guess I have a quick hand for volley, and my coach always is on me to move my legs.”
Jesko also is an outstanding student with a 3.8 grade-point average. She serves as vice president of the National Honor Society.
The daughter of Howard and Debbie Jesko, she would like to do her undergraduate work to prepare for a career in psychiatry.