INDEPENDENCE — Cade Magill came to find tennis as more than just a sport — it became an avenue of being able to reach out to the younger kids as a friend and a role model.
That was one of the reasons why Patty Youngren, head Tennis coach at Central High School, nominated him for the Itemizer-Observer’s 2018 Tennis Player of the Year.
“He is responsible and dedicated,” Youngren said. “He offered last year to bring his trumpet and play the national anthem and continued to do so this year. His attendance at school and practice is immaculate. His win record isn’t great, but the amount of games won per match was one of the team’s highest. He is a great role model for all the new players in being positive, always.”
When Magill found out that he was awarded the nomination for Player of the Year, he said it was very satisfying.
“I joined freshman year and I always liked tennis, but it wasn’t something that I was necessarily good at it — I was actually pretty bad,” Magill said, “but it was really awesome and satisfying to see improvement over the years.”
Before playing for CHS, Magill said he hadn’t really played tennis before, but was attracted to it due to the self-reliant aspect of the sport. The spring of his freshman year, he gave it a shot.
“I like how it’s really built on your personal level,” he said. “In tennis, it feels like everything is in your control; a win is earned; you really practice for that. A loss is also earned — the person beat you fair and square — and I like that.”
This season, he became one of CHS’s best tennis players, according to Youngren, not just in skill but in attitude.
“He’s always willing. I could put anybody with him and he would play comfortably with them,” she said. “He’s my fastest player, so I can put him with students who are still developing and it would be a good team because of what he’s able to do to support his partner. He also never frowns, he never rolls his eyes, he never gets mad on the tennis courts, and that’s a plus.”
His positive attitude and hard work come from a philosophy Magill says he has tried to follow since freshman year.
“I try to keep (tennis) on the fun side and not too serious,” he said. It’s that type of environment that fosters a family-like setting.
And he’s worked hard over the past year to make sure he was instrumental in creating a tight-knit team.
“Senior year for me, I kind of had a goal,” Magill said. “When I joined freshman year, I was a little insecure and I was kind of shy and scared. (So) I was like, when I’m a senior, I want to be supportive and helpful; I want to create an environment that’s fun and accepting, and so that was my goal — was to not just have a great season for myself, but try to have the whole team have a great season.”
He found that the better he got, the more he doubted himself as he faced harder competition and had to make harder calls during a match. It was an obstacle he said he had to work through for the entire season.
“(I was) being put on a higher level of varsity than I’m used to, doubting myself and more over-thinking everything instead of trusting my instincts on what to do,” he said.
It was a mental battle he was up against, and he credits Youngren in being able to deal with the added pressure.
“Patty’s always been supportive. It’s always really nice ... to have someone who is pushing you forward and trying to help you improve,” he said.
On top of tennis, Magill is the section leader for the symphonic and jazz bands, in which he received two awards this year for “Most Inspirational.”
As his senior year ends, Magill looks forward to college at Oregon State University, where he said he plans to go into their computer science program and become a software engineer.
“If I can find a tennis club or a band club or a drama club while I’m there, then of course that’s what I would love to do,” he added.
Before he walked across the stage June 8 to accept his diploma and officially close this chapter of his life, Magill said he hopes that he succeeded in helping to make this place better and the programs more fun.
He also leaves someone behind to fill big shoes: his younger brother Chase, who is also on the tennis team.
“He’s two years younger than me, but he’s basically as good as me,” Magill said. “He kind of inspires me to be a better person and to try to be the best I can.”