Maddy Shaak is a senior on West Chester’s women’s tennis team. She was recruited to West Chester out of Myerstown, Pa. by head coach Tina Tharp. Her career at West Chester started off strong, capturing the PSAC East Freshman of the Year honor in 2014. She has continued to improve her game throughout her collegiate days, working her way up to the top doubles spot with teammate Claire Uhle, while playing second singles behind only Uhle in the lineup.
It is an impressive feat for Shaak to have achieved the success she has had after suffering a severe knee injury back in her high school days. A skiing accident led to a torn ACL and long recovery process. But Shaak was not going to let that stop her from playing the game she loves.
If you see her play, you will see her wearing a knee brace throughout, but don’t think this makes her weak. She had an impressive 18-6 record in the 2015-16 season in singles while going undefeated in the PSAC division. Shaak and Uhle also dominated in doubles, boasting a stellar 21-5 record, with a perfect PSAC record as well.
I sat down with the tennis star to get a little more insight on who she is as both an athlete and a person.
Ryan Hunt: What is your favorite food?
Maddy Shaak: Crunchy peanut butter and bananas.
RH: What is your favorite place in West Chester to eat?
MS: Couch Tomato (she highly recommends the Where’s Waldorf salad).
RH: Favorite athlete?
MS: Roger Federer.
RH: Favorite sports team(s)?
MS: I don’t really follow anything except the English Premier League, and my favorite team is Manchester United.
RH: Three people you would like to have dinner with?
MS: Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, and Fred Armisen.
RH: Any pre-match rituals?
MS: I always listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers before a match.
RH: What was your favorite high school tennis moment?
MS: Postseason in general, it was so exciting, especially because I got to miss school!
RH: Why did you pick West Chester?
MS: It was far enough out of my comfort zone that I felt I was doing something big, but not too far away that I could still contact home. I loved the campus and had a great recruiting trip.
RH: Why did you play tennis in the first place?
MS: My whole family plays, so I started young, and even though I played other sports, this sport stuck with me.
RH: What other sports did you play?
MS: Basketball, soccer, and a little bit of baseball.
RH: How important are sports in your life?
MS: Family is the most important thing in my life, sports will always come second to them.
RH: What inspires you to keep playing?
MS: I love the sport, I love all the connections it gives me, so I wanted to continue on as long as I could.
RH: Goals for the season? Both for yourself and the team?
MS: Individually, I want to go undefeated at my spot (singles and doubles). I also want to create a more encouraging atmosphere (verbally). For the team, I want us to make it to the PSAC playoffs, and get an NCAA bid.
RH: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
MS: Flourishing in my career choice, through public health. Hopefully I will be achieving my goal of helping my community in some way.
Ryan Hunt is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at RH803937@wcupa.edu.