As the 2019-20 school year is gearing to start up across the state and while students and teachers are preparing themselves to go back to class, college students are packing their bags and heading on their next adventure. For Alexia Ginter and Tony Torres, two Troy Buchanan High School graduates, they will be headed back to college to continue competing in their respective sports
Torres graduated from Troy in 2017, and currently attends Missouri Baptist University where he is on the soccer team. Tony is working to obtain a degree in Business Administration with hopes of working in business management for a corporation. Soccer has been a lifelong hobby for Torres. He grew up watching soccer and still keeps up with some of his favorite players.
“My favorite player is Lionel Messi. I have always enjoyed watching him play,” Torres said.
Torres has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember, and joined his first team as soon as he was old enough.
“From a very young age I have always enjoyed playing soccer and as I got older I knew I kept wanting to play,” Torres said.
He started out on local teams including the Troy Soccer Club, working his way to others such as Avalon, Ajax FC and Missouri FC where he was able to learn the mechanics of the game and really improve throughout the years. When he started high school he made the varsity team his first year trying out.
“After my freshman year season, I became more serious about the sport and knew I wanted to play in college,” Torres said.
In high school, Torres also participated on the tennis and track teams during the off-season for soccer to keep himself in shape.
“I really dedicated myself to the process and worked hard at each practice,” Torres said.
Looking at the four years he has played, Torres dedicates his inspiration and motivation to continue to play soccer to his supportive family and parents that would attend every game.
“My parents definitely push me to keep playing today,” Torres said.
Looking back at his soccer career thus far, Torres remembered riding the bus to the games with the whole team and enjoying the fun times at practice. One of his favorite memories was the coveted “Senior Night” when high school seniors are highlighted for their involvement on the team.
“It was the last time I would play soccer in high school and all of my friends came to watch, definitely a moment I will never forget,” Torres said.
Now in college, soccer has always been a part of Torres and he plans to continue to play throughout college. After graduating he hopes to put his degree to use and work in the business industry. Wanting to pass along his passion for the sport, Torres is hoping to get into coaching.
“I think it would be cool to coach some of the younger teams and eventually work with them until they go off to college,” Torres said.
A more recent graduate from Troy, Ginter walked across the stage in 2018, and now attends Quincy University. While she’s working to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law, she also plays on the tennis team. Ginter claims to be a “new athlete” to the sport and only started playing the summer before her freshman year in high school. She now plays on a D2 level team at Quincy University where she consistently sits in the top six. To get to this point, Ginter said she began practicing daily to work on her technique and improve with every match.
“I realized just how much I loved the sport and decided to try to make the college level,” Ginter said.
Growing up, Ginter played many other sports including soccer, basketball and track, until she gave tennis a try. When she joined the team she began playing with no experience.
“I didn’t really know anyone who played tennis growing up. I would see people playing at parks or on TV and always thought how fun it would be,” Ginter said.
After being on the team for two seasons, Ginter became very dedicated to the sport and knew that this was something she wanted to do at the collegiate level. With the goal in mind, Ginter joined the Vetta Racquet Club to help improve her game. She also credits her success to her high school doubles partner that practiced with her almost every day during the off-season.
“Once I started playing, my biggest inspiration was my peers around me. I constantly wanted to catch up to their skill level and make up for lost time since I started the sport late,” Ginter said.
Her hard work seemed to pay off for her senior year when Ginter had the best record at 24-2. Ending her high school career on a high note, Ginter started preparing for college knowing she would have to work even harder to keep up with the college level athletes. To get herself ready, Ginter knew if she wanted to be the best she could she would have to practice regularly. She worked daily to keep herself in top shape and build on her skills.
“Right before I started college tennis I felt extremely burnt out. I didn’t have any motivation to play and hated when I did play,” Ginter said.
She was ready to quit the sport that she had fallen in love with in high school. When she thought about giving up she would remind herself how much time and energy she had put in to playing.
“I thought of all the hot summer days and long matches in the fall. All the time my coaches put into me and how many hours of my life I devoted to the sport,” Ginter said.
She continued to work and eventually fell in love with the game again knowing that was not the end of her journey with tennis. Ginter has drawn inspiration from pro players Beon Borg and John McEnroe to help inspire her to keep playing. She plans to continue to play tennis in college and after graduating college she has two plans. She hopes to apply to the ATF and go straight into the police academy of go to law school.
“I haven’t quite decided which route to go yet. However, I’m hoping either path will lead to an investigative position at the federal level,” Ginter said.