Morton senior Laynie Laktas is on a Potters girls tennis squad that has won six straight Mid-Illini Conference team titles. She is a three-time all-state selection, has won an M-I doubles title twice and has qualified for the state tournament all three seasons.
Laktas has been playing tennis for about five years, and is following in the footsteps of her older brother, Jonah (also a state qualifier for Morton). Her younger sister, Lissi, is a sophomore on this year’s Morton team.
Journal Star reporter Johnny Campos served up five questions to Laktas, and here are her returns:
1 When you started playing at Morton, the Potters had won three straight Mid-Illini Conference titles. Did you have any idea the streak would reach six?
"Coming into tennis my freshman year at Morton, we had a strong team, but also difficult competition. I definitely did not expect the conference titles to be easy wins, but I never doubted the ability of our team, either. Also, having that streak has kept the motivation high to keep winning the title each year."
2 With so many new players on this year's team, what do you think the chances are for a seventh straight M-I title by the Potters?
"It has been really fun so far this year with all the new girls, and they have contributed to some good wins for our team. It has been especially fun having my little sister, who is a sophomore, on the team this year. I am confident in them, and our whole team, to pull through for the seventh straight win."
3 How much pressure are you putting on yourself to make it to state for a fourth straight year?
"The pressure I put on myself to go to state is pretty high every year. But, since this is my senior year, I would say it is definitely higher because I do want to end my last season with a fourth trip to state. I am just going to continue to play the best that I can, and trust in both my own abilities and my doubles partner's abilities, and I think the outcome could be really good."
4 What was the biggest lesson your older brother gave you about tennis, and what can you pass on to your younger sister?
"The biggest lesson Jonah taught me about tennis is that being successful takes a lot of time and effort. He would spend hours a day practicing. Seeing him do that taught me that if I really wanted to improve, I would need to be dedicated. Watching him succeed so much while he played really made me want to follow in his footsteps. I hope to pass on the same lessons Jonah taught me onto my sister, and I have done my best to keep a good attitude while playing so she has a good example to follow."
5 What are your plans for college? Do you think you will play tennis at the next level?
"I am undecided where I want to go to college, and I have been looking at a lot of different options. I think it would be cool to be able to continue on with tennis. But nothing is decided for sure yet, and I am just really excited to see what happens in the future."