Arends trying to balance tennis with softball

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When Taylor Arends isn’t playing tennis, she can be found participating in her other favorite sport, softball.

Arends is attempting a juggling act this fall by continuing to excel as one the Chicago area’s top doubles tennis players while trying to play as many games as possible with her club softball team, the Oak Park Windmills. Last weekend, Arends helped the Windmills win a tournament in East Peoria while getting the weekend off from tennis.

“We have players (on the Windmills) from Oak Park, Elmhurst and Chicago,” Arends said. “After tennis is done, I’ll try to play with the (softball) team on Saturday and even when I’m off on Sunday.”

Many high school programs had a lighter-than-normal schedule Saturday due to ACTs. Arends took advantage of the day off to play shortstop for the Windmills.

“I’ve always loved softball, but they are both fun while I am playing them,” said Arends, who was the starting third baseman last season for OPRF. “Whatever sport I am playing (at the time) is the one I like best.”

In the fall, tennis remains Arends’ priority after finishing sixth in last year’s state doubles meet. Arends and partner Tess Trinka won their first four matches at the state meet. They then fell to Hinsdale Central’s Marika Cusick and Caroline Lorenzini 7-6, 7-6 in the quarterfinals before finishing 6-2 at state.

Arends, a junior, and Trinka, a senior, look stronger than ever with a 10-1 record early this season. The OPRF duo’s only loss came in the Deerfield Invitational Sept. 7 with a 6-2, 6-3 defeat to Stevenson’s Kendall Kirsch and Alexxis Kiven.

Taylor Arends and Tess Trinka share their friendship off the tennis court. They are involved in the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Club at OPRF, an exclusive program where two boys and two girls athletes from each graduating class travel to Colorado Springs to learn leadership skills.

Through Trinka, Arends also is involved in the Hephizibah Children’s Association Club at OPRF. Tess Trinka is the president and Taylor Arends is the vice president. Trinka and her brother Luke started the club to benefit an Oak Park-based group home for abused and neglected children.

“I’m very happy to be second in command,” Arends said about her role.

OPRF hosts plays at Lyons Thursday and heads to the Prospect Invitational at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“I think I’m very excited for our future,” Arends said. “We’ve played together more often (in the offseason). Over the summer, we were even playing together with our moms once in while.”

The Huskies faced their mothers, Sue Arends and Bernadette Diaz, nearly a half-dozen times during the summer at local tennis clubs or public courts. The matches were both fun and competitive.

“They played for points,” Arends said. “It was amusing, that’s for sure.”

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