CHATHAM, NJ - From the day she started out as a scared freshman through her culmination as an experienced senior, Libby White believes she has received a substantial benefit from her four years of playing varsity tennis for Chatham High.
As much as she's received, she's given right back off the court by starting a tennis program in her sophomore year with the ECLC special needs students in Chatham that will be in its third year this spring. She also spent last summer teaching tennis to Special Olympics young adults in Delaware.
"It's so much fun to watch them smile when they hit the ball over the net," White said. "It's just such a cool experience that not a lot of people get to do."
Despite the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, White managed to complete her 2020 fall season for CHS undefeated at second singles and was a co-captain of the Cougar team that won the state regional championship.
Libby White is the Chatham Wealth Management Athlete of the Week.
"Overall, Libby has managed to capture 56 wins for her high school career helping the team to win three Morris County Tournaments, three conference titles, and one State Regional Championship," James Cai, Chatham tennis coach, said. "It's such an honor for me to have coached Libby in the past four years watching her grow both as a person and a player."
White was the only freshman on the varsity four years ago when she teamed up with then-senior Julia Gallop. The duo won the Morris County Tournament first-doubles championship and also advanced to the Round of 16 in the state doubles tourney.
"It was a great introduction to high school and getting to know what a team is like because, before high school, I hadn't played on any team," she said. "Even though Julia was four years older than me, she treated me like one of her friends. I definitely found forever friends on this team. I really wasn't a doubles player. Doubles gave me a new perspective. It's really about communication."
She's carried on that communication theme as a two-year co-captain of the CHS team along with classmate Sydney Berkson.
"I've learned to become more of a leader," White said. "My job is to inspire them to do their best. It doesn't matter if they don't win, it's more important to do your best and know that we're cheering for them and supporting them, no matter what. Our Chatham cheer before every match got the team pumped up to play."
White went undefeated at second singles during her sophomore year, played first singles last year, and then returned to second singles for her final season.
The 17-year-old has been playing tennis since she was five, ever since her mom dropped her off for a camp at the YMCA.
"Since then, I've been in love with it," she said. "It gets me out of my head. Even if I'm worried about something else, stressed about school or anything. Playing tennis lets me forget that and concentrate on just hitting the ball. That's been really positive for me."
Another positive is her mother, Jen, who has been to every match, home or away cheering her on.
"I love having my mom here," White said. "She's been here since freshman year supporting all of us. She's been an important part of the team dynamic, always cheering for everyone and I love it."
White's next step in her journey is Villanova University, where a large on-campus Special Olympics event is held each year.
"Libby has been an integral part of the Chatham girls tennis team in the past four years," Cai said. "She has matured and demonstrated leadership both on and off the courts."
Editor's note: The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Chatham Wealth Management in recognition of the commitment a Chatham athlete has made to their sport, their school and their community. For over twenty years, Chatham Wealth Management has been committed to putting our clients first by crafting customized investment solutions. Call us at 973-635-4275 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help meet your financial goals. To learn more about our products and team, visit us at www.chathamwealth.com.