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By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(October 2, 2022 8:00 AM) Should Western High School advance to the Michigan High School Athletic Association tennis final, No. 1 singles player Seth Keana won’t be intimidated by teams like Cranbrook or Detroit Country Day.

The senior doesn’t know any better.

In his first season for the Panthers, Keana has more than 20 wins at No. 1 singles after a long and winding road to Western.

“Joining the Western tennis team was a great decision,” Keana said. “The first day of school I had someone to eat lunch win.”

Keana has lived all over the country as his father was in the military. The WHS senior homeschooled for most of his life, but moved to Jonesville approximately five years ago.

For a couple of years Keana went to Spring Branch Academy – a small church affiliated school where his dad teaches.

But Keana wanted to play tennis – a sport has played for seven years.

“The closest place we found for tennis lessons was in Lansing, so twice a week we traveled more than an hour for lessons,” Keana said. “We eventually found David Darling at Spring Arbor.

“All of my skills are due to him.”

Keana made the decision to attend Western prior to the lessons with Darling – a Western High School graduate and Director of Tennis at Spring Arbor University.

But Keana was still a little hesitant before jumping in the deep end of public school. He would have graduated from Spring Branch Academy next spring in a class of three.

“Talk about a culture shock,” Keana said of the move. “Everyone at Western has been very nice … it has exceeded my expectations.”

Keana said being able to play “constantly” this summer and fall has made a huge difference in his game. He won 9-of-10 matches heading into the Interstate-8 Conference finals at home on Friday.

The senior won the conference title at No. 1 singles as the Panthers swept all eight flights in the conference final.

“I am facing kids who are mad-good,” Keana said. 

But that doesn’t scare Keana who says he doesn’t think about the matches as they come.

“There is a phrase from a movie that says ‘Don’t think about the White Elephants.’” Keana said. “I try not to overthink things as I get a little stressed.”

With the confidence of this season, Keana now believes he can play college tennis and one college has reached out saying they have a  spot for him on their team.

Keana says he is keeping his options open.

The senior says he loves the camaraderie with his teammates on the tennis team.

“Really for the first time I have had a chance to appreciate the camaraderie and cheering from my teammates,” Keana said. “It is really awesome when others do it (call out his name in support during a match).

“You don’t see it with other teams.”

Traveling around the country and attending a number of schools hasn’t hurt Keana. He has a grade point average of 3.97 and plans to attend college next year.

“Academics are very important in my family,” Keana said. “I appreciate all the help I have received at Western.”

Keana is considering joining the track team next spring. He says competing in sports has taught him a number of valuable lessons in life.

“Sport has taught me the value of endurance and the skill of turning off your mind and just playing,” Keana said. 

Western High School tennis player Seth Keana returns a shot during a recent tennis match.
Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
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