Emporia State tennis’ Kevin Schoon knows how to be successful in more ways than one. The Winfield native is a biochemistry and molecular biology major, the men’s team captain and the #1 player on the team.
John Cayton, head coach of the men’s tennis team, believes Schoon’s mental abilities transcend just the classroom.
“Kevin’s always been a very, very smart player,” Cayton said. “He plays well with his mind, and he’s always been somebody that plays high percentage.”
Schoon’s a proven leader of the team, although he’s not a very vocal person.
“I’m team captain and I feel like I’ve done a good job at that,” Schoon said. “I’m really not the most vocal leader, but I try to lead more by example in playing hard and just being really motivating to the other guys.”
Fellow senior team member Spencer Pozek has seen first hand Schoon’s impact on the squad.
“He’s a good teammate,” Pozek said. “He always gives his best effort. He’s definitely a quiet guy, but the underclassmen follow him – not by what he says, but the way he acts.
He never gets real fired up,” Pozek said. “That probably why he he’s been so successful because he’s real even keel. In tennis, you have to be able to stay on a steady plain, and not go up and down.”
It’s not only Schoon’s leadership qualities that have been noticed. Last year, coaches around the MIAA honored him with the Sportsmanship Award.
“It meant a lot knowing that they (MIAA coaches) think highly of me,” Schoon said. “I try to be a good sport, so it’s really nice that people notice that.”
Along with excellent sportsmanship and a soft-spoken leadership style, Schoon brings to the table a complimentary skill set.
“One of the things Kevin has developed is some weapons,” Cayton said. “His forehand has become a very big weapon. His serve has become more of a weapon… the thing that he does very well…is he moves forward and finishes points at net very well.”
Consistency has been a word closely associated with Schoon since he came to Emporia State four years ago.
“I think it’s really important for me to just try to do what I know I can do and not try to do more, and that’s being really consistent,” Schoon said. “A lot of times it does frustrate other players who want to end the point quickly.”
Cayton realized Schoon’s value and potential from an early stage.
“He’s extremely valuable because, a guy like Kevin, you can put him out there at whatever position and you know he will compete and perform for you day in, day out,” Cayton said. “He’s been a very, very consistent performer, somebody that’s not going to make a lot of mistakes.”