Trinity tennis players Nicole Mayer and Alan Liao are multitalented athletes and students.
And one of their top skills is juggling — at least metaphorically speaking.
Not only are they two of coach Chris Yenne’s top players, they are two of the school’s stop students, involved in a variety of activities. For example, both are in the International Baccalaureate program (Nicole, a senior, is top 25 in her class and Alan, a junior, is first). Both are also in top band at Trinity, and both made the regional symphonic band.
Alan made all-state band on bassoon. Nicole auditioned for all-state on the French horn.
“Alan and Nicole have done an amazing job this year. They both have so much going on, and yet they continue to train and compete at a very high level,” Yenne said. “The best part of it, though, is what quality young people they both are. While their skill and tenacity is awesome, their character is what truly sets them apart.”
That, and an apparent ability to go practically nonstop. In addition to the aforementioned, Alan is co-president of Asian Club and a member of National Honor Society, Math Honor Society and Junior World Affairs Council. He is maintaining his rank as valedictorian and got a near-perfect score on the PSAT.
Oh, and he’s a Boy Scout.
Nicole is also in the top 3 percent of her class, and a member of class council and National Honor Society, through which she volunteers at the Heartland Healthcare Center.
“Most of my days consist of practicing French horn for band and studying for school to obtain the IB diploma,” Nicole said. “I play tennis when my schedule allows for it, and I play on the weekends.”
And when the schedule does allow, she and Alan play very well. Not only are they both No. 1 on the Trinity ladder, they play United States Tennis Association tournaments in the Super Championship division.
“Most weeks are made up of playing bassoon for band, studying for school, and playing tennis when I have free time,” Alan said. “Because I am very busy now with IB, band and tennis, I try to attend Boy Scout meetings as much as I can. Also, I go to Karen Dillard’s once a week to prep for the SAT.”
Alan has narrowed his college choices down to Rice, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. His first choice is Stanford, and he wants to major in biomedical engineering.
Nicole plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin as a communications major.
Yenne said that while Alan and Nicole are very smart and talented, hard work is a big part of their success — along with a huge desire to win.
“First and foremost, their talent is pretty rare in this area,” Yenne said. “For the most part, the academy-trained kids seem a million miles away from the proverbial Average Joe or Jill, not so much in terms of our kids being awestruck, but just in terms of the prevailing opinion that ‘We can never beat academy kids.’ Well, Nicole and Alan can beat some of them, and Nicole and Alan are like us.”
It helps that the two keep everything in perspective, Yenne said. He noted that neither has an ego, and in fact are two of the best teammates a player could ask for. They also spend fair amount of time helping teammates academically.
“When the top two kids are nice kids, it pretty much sets the bar for the rest of the team,” Yenne said. “On the Trinity tennis team, it is cool to be smart and nice.”