Woranun sends rivals ‘down the line’

Taylor Tasaka

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Photo by Faye Smith

Senior Rae Woranun competes in the Ark City Invitational on Sept. 14. Woranun placed 5th at the meet.

Since she was 6 years old, foreign exchange student Woranun “Rae” Normai mastered her tennis skills by practicing for two hours a day. At the age of 12, her hard work paid off and Normai achieved a number one ranking in her home country of Thailand.

Those skills are serving Normai well in the United States, bringing her success as a member of the girls’ tennis team.

“We realized that she was going to be our top varsity player. At our first meet, she took first and that’s when we all fully realized that she is really good,” teammate Kailei Sidebottom said.

Head coach Nick Sisson agreed that Normai is a valuable asset to the Newton team.

“She’s been a wonderful addition to the team and the team has all bonded together nicely,” head coach Nick Sisson said. “She can play with a lot of power, which is rare in girls’ tennis in Kansas. I’d say her best stroke is her serve or her forehand down the line.”

Normai attributes her success on the court to the amount of time she has spent practicing over the years.

“You have to practice really hard and improve your skills that you think are not good. I think that I practice really hard and practice has paid off,” Normai said.

She also noted the benefit of having formed a positive bond with her teammates.

“The team, we help each other and practice together all the time and have a good relationship,” Normai said.

The relationship Normai has formed with the team extends to the coaching staff as well, even though she acknowledged beating Sisson in practice play.

“We haven’t had a girl player with her training in about a decade,” Sisson said.