Q&A: Meet the Flight 1 singles state tennis champion from Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Athena Franciliso from St. Thomas More made sure she wrapped up the girls tennis season in style.

Before closing the books on her sophomore season, she won two state titles and accomplished something that only a handful of tennis players from western South Dakota have ever accomplished.


You recently defeated Sydney Tedrow from Pierre to win a state title. What what your game plan?

“Since I played her two times before, I knew like how she was going to hit the ball,” said Athena Franciliso. “Where she was going to place it. I just knew where to put the ball where she couldn’t get it and how to keep it in play.”


What’s it like to be only the sixth tennis player from western South Dakota to win a Flight 1 singles title since 1969?

“Honestly I thought there would be a lot more because there are a bunch of great players in this part of South Dakota. It’s a surprise honestly,” said Franciliso.

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Why do you enjoy playing tennis?

“I really like the friends that I make through tennis,” said Franciliso. “My team, I love them. They’re my friends. They’re a second family to me. It’s just fun having relationships with your teammates and your opponent.”


Will tennis continue to be a part of your life after high school?

“I feel like tennis would be a big part of my future as I want to play college tennis and probably go into really big tournaments when I’m an adult,” said Franciliso.

Categories: High School, Sports, Top Performer