Communication is important in every sport especially when playing doubles tennis. It’s that trait that has been at the foundation of success for Klaire Newell and Kate Hewitt of the Muskogee Roughers.
“Of course we give each other advice on a specific situation but honestly we say the most interesting, crazy things to each other during a match,” Klaire replied noting the expressions that some might find as weird word combinations.
Hewitt explained how the pair often used of verbal and non-verbal messaging.
“Klaire would say ‘hit the ball so hard you’ll knock the opponents teeth out’,” chuckled Hewitt who has teamed with Newell the final two seasons at Muskogee. “Klaire would point to her mouth then click her teeth. Nobody else knew it but it means she wanted me to hit the ball harder.”
When asked about the strength of their tennis game, the “dynamic duo” had simple evaluations.
“My forehand is better than my backhand. I know that the game is bigger than any single shot so I focused on staying consistent,” said Hewitt.
Newell, the 2022 senior class Valedictorian who posted a 4.656 grade point, explained her mental approach was invaluable on and off the court.
“I’d keep telling myself we’ve got the next point; the ability to stay positive resulted in our success,” said Newell. “I have to be determined and hardworking in my school work and the same things I’ve used in my academic success I used on the tennis court.”
Kate recalled how testing each other while on tennis trips also expanded her own knowledge of one of Klaire’s homework assignments where both rarely had too many passing shots outside the lines.
“I learned all of the human body parts just through testing Klaire for her Human Anatomy class,” laughed Hewitt, whose 4.525 GPA ranked number five among this year’s senior class at Muskogee.
Klaire and Kate join their senior teammates Annebelle Czaruk and Alexis Dansby as recipients of Division-I academic scholarships as Newell will attend the University of Tulsa majoring in exercise science/sports health and kinesiology while Hewitt will go to the University of Oklahoma majoring in public relations along the advertising, communications and marketing track.
With memories of reaching the Class 6A state tournament as juniors a part of their cherished moments playing tennis, both girls admit their friendship definitely ranks number one.
“I wouldn’t have enjoyed tennis without Kate’s friendship,” Newell said. “On tennis road trips while others were sleeping, we’re playing Wordle at six am in the morning.”
Hewitt explained her fondest memory is cherishing three F’s…Faith, Family and Friendship.
“You don’t find success by yourself. You hold on to what’s constant and take it with you wherever you go and in any situation. Klaire and I will continue to be teammates even though we’ll go different directions in the future.”
You could add a fourth F of success for Newell and Hewitt as the pair had plenty of fun.