Sports Person of the Week
Lang Doubles Her Fun with the Tigers
Senior captain Anna Lang compiled a career record of 69-2 in her three seasons playing No. 1 doubles for the Hand girls’ tennis squad. (Photo courtesy of Anna Lang )
Winning seems to be the only thing that Anna Lang knows how to do on the tennis court. Anna, a senior captain for the Hand girls’ tennis team, has never lost a regular-season match and has lost just two matches in her entire career. Pretty impressive.
Anna competed out of the No. 1 doubles position throughout her tenure with the Tigers, teaming up with three different partners along the way. However, that’s never been a problem for Anna, who posted a combined record of 69-2 through her first three years of high school and was poised to make some more noise this year if she had been given the opportunity. Last season, Anna helped Hand finish with a record of 24-0 on its way to winning its third-straight SCC title, as well as the Class M state championship.
“I’ve been playing tennis since I was four years old, and I’ve been competing in tournaments since I was eight. I was introduced to the sport by my parents, who also played tennis, and it just clicked for me,” says Anna. “My favorite aspect of tennis is the feeling I get when I’m playing. When I step onto the court, there’s a focus and drive that I feel no matter who or where I’m playing. The energy is competitive, fun, challenging, and exciting.”
When she started high school, Anna thought that she was going to be playing singles for Hand, but wound up making a sacrifice by slotting into the Tigers’ doubles lineup. Head Coach Kitty Palmer praises Anna for being a selfless person who always put the team first.
“Anna came to us as a singles player and, for the good of the team, worked hard to play a great doubles game. Her strengths are her serve and net play, which is very intimidating to all her opponents,” Palmer says. “Anna was loved by all her teammates and her coaches, and I’m so sorry that she couldn’t have added one more year to her and her team’s accomplishments.”
Anna’s determination was on full display during the 2019 season. Last spring, Anna and her doubles partner, then-freshman Claire Langille, advanced all the way to the finals of the State Open after winning their first five matches in the draw. This included a semifinal contest that came down to a third-set tiebreaker.
“My favorite moment from last season was when my doubles partner Claire and I won the semifinals round of State Opens,” Anna says. “We won the first set, but lost the second, so it came down to an intense tiebreaker that would determine if we’d move on or not. We stayed focused, didn’t give up, and won the match. It felt like we had won something much greater than one round of the tournament. We lost in the finals and were looking forward to this year, but unfortunately, we won’t get another opportunity.”
On May 5, the CIAC canceled any chances of a 2020 spring season taking place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that disappointment, Anna’s career at Hand is definitely one to be remembered. Anna finished her high school run as a three-time All-SCC Division I selection, a three-time All-Area recipient, and a two-time All-State honoree. Now, her sights are set on playing tennis in college at Bentley University in Massachusetts.
“Next year, I am playing Division II tennis at Bentley University. I will be pursuing a career in finance and can’t wait to start my freshman season with Coach [Rick] Edelmann and the Falcons. I was also selected to be in the Women’s Leadership Program at Bentley,” says Anna. “I’m devastated that I can’t have one last year of tennis as a player and co-captain [at Hand], but I’m so excited to continue my sport and for what’s to come on and off the court in my future.”
Off the court, Anna enjoys hanging out with her friends, skiing, running, and going to the beach. Anna used to swim competitively, but when faced with the choice of focusing on tennis or swimming, she decided to continue her career on the court.
“I chose tennis and haven’t regretted it for one second,” Anna says. “To improve my game, I focus on fitness off the court and on the court. I train year-round in Rocky Hill with my coach Steve Rogers and with many great players who’ve pushed me to work hard.”
Coach Palmer is one of the people who pushed Anna to reach her potential. Anna knew Palmer long before she attended Hand and attributes a lot of her success to everything that she’s learned from the Tigers’ coach.
“I played many summers of tennis with Kitty. I’ve always valued her as a coach, and I’ve grown so much since freshman year—not only as a player, but as a teammate,” says Anna. “I owe this to Kitty’s efforts to drive me as a player and push our team to success every year.”