Athlete in Focus: Sophia Kreider


Kreider and and her doubles partner Jamroz after a tournament.

Ask anyone on the varsity girl’s tennis team for a memorable match this season and there’s a good chance they’ll mention Sept. 23. That day at the Prospect Invitational, juniors Sophia Kreider and Maya Jamroz pulled off a 6-3 win against a doubles team from Stevenson widely recognized as best in the state.

“We were feeling really, really good, ready to win again,” said Jamroz, but before they could play another set, the tournament was cancelled due to excessive heat.

“We literally beat them up in the first set, and then they cancelled the tournament. We would’ve won that match,” said coach Fred Galluzzo.

Galluzzo went on to say this kind of win isn’t uncommon for Jamroz and Kreider and calls Kreider a “model player and teammate.” She’s been playing doubles since last year, and tennis for as long as she can remember.

“She’s this model for how to work. You don’t have that in a bottle, you don’t have that in a package, and if you don’t have it you can’t manufacture it. It’s something that you have to hope you have, and she brings that to this team,” Galluzzo said. “She’s quite something to watch, to see her play.”

Jamroz said Kreider isn’t just a “phenomenal tennis player,” but also “a violin prodigy, a great student, and a wonderful person. I don’t know how she does it.”

Galluzzo says she does it by maintaining a strong work ethic and taking tennis seriously. “Every time out and every time she’s working with a racket in her hand, she’s getting better. We’ll take a break to get some water and she goes back to a court and practices her serve.”

While Kreider plays tennis year round, it’s not her only focus. She’s been playing violin since she was 7 and is concertmaster of the OPRF Symphony Orchestra. She also plays in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra (CYSO) and is concertmaster. She has won the OPRF Concerto Competition two years in a row.

Every time she’s working with a racket in her hand, she’s getting better.”

— Fred Galluzzo

Kreider says there are more similarities between tennis and violin than one might think. “The work you have to put in is the same, there’s no shortcuts. You have to practice; otherwise, you don’t get anywhere.”

She admitted it’s a lot to juggle during the school year, but said time management skills are just as important as working hard.

“It takes a lot of good time management to balance everything, especially with violin and CYSO,” Kreider said. “I always make sure that I take time to relax even when it feels like I don’t have a minute to spare. Also, supportive friends help me take my mind off of stressful days.”

Thanks to these efforts, Kreider won team MVP this season, an award not given every year. She and Jamroz also represented OPRF at state, where they won three matches.