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OSIPOFF: Chesterton’s Meg Modesto relishing online classes, increased tennis time

Meg ModesChestertduring her 16 under championship match against Rachel Wlling Valparaiso. Modeswent w6-2 6-1.| Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

Meg Modesto, of Chesterton, during her 16 and under championship match against Rachel Wlling of Valparaiso. Modesto went on to win 6-2, 6-1.| Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 11, 2014 9:59AM



Meg Modesto called it “the best decision of my life.”

The rest of her family, a prominent one in the tennis community in the area and beyond, wasn’t quite so sure, especially initially. Bob, her father, needed significant convincing. Julie, her mother, was only slightly more on board. Maureen and Bobbi, her older sisters, tried to talk her out of it.

But Meg was serious about taking online classes, to afford her more of an opportunity to focus on her game. The idea had crossed her mind before. But shortly after the start of the school year at Chesterton, the junior — in typically the most important year for college recruiting — came to the conclusion that the time was right to make the move.

And some seven months later?

“I love it,” she said. “It’s been a great experience.

“My academics have been really good, and my tennis level definitely has escalated. It’s worked out really well.”

It took a little while to streamline Modesto’s schedule, determine what worked best, but she’s gotten the basic framework down pat, give or take on the precise hours. Practice from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; schoolwork — through Penn Foster, an NCAA-approved program, which is vital for someone with Division I aspirations — from 2 to 4; another practice from 5 to 7; and a workout, with conditioning and/or weight training, for another hour or so. With a USTA event every weekend, she probably will wind up playing in 50 tournaments during the course of the year.

Modesto has missed the social component, the daily interaction with her friends. The start of the high school season gave her a small degree of pause.

“It’s always fun to be on a team,” said Modesto, who went 19-2 at No. 1 singles for the Trojans as a sophomore last season, with her only loss to an area player coming to Highland’s Vanessa Madrigal, now a freshman at Wright State; and who went 17-1 as a freshman, mostly at No. 2 singles behind sister Bobbi. “But I only did it for two years; I’ve been doing USTA my entire life. It’s second nature going to tournaments.”

For Bob Modesto, the adjustment to his daughter not playing this high school season has been ongoing — though he still has his finger on the pulse of the region and state scenes, adeptly analyzing various teams and players. After all, he coached the Munster girls team for seven seasons from 2003 to ’09, guiding the Mustangs to three straight state runner-up finishes from 2006 to ’08 and third place in ’09, also when Mary Hill capped her illustrious career by winning the singles title. And both Maureen and Bobbi starred in high school, with the former graduating from Munster in 2007 before playing at Missouri, and the latter graduating from Chesterton in 2012 and now playing at IUPUI as a sophomore.

“I’m a big advocate of high school sports,” said Bob Modesto, currently the general manager at a hotel in Portage, after also having been a teacher and a dean of students. “The time I spent coaching were some of the best years, just a great experience for me. Maureen and Bobbi loved playing in high school. So with Meg, it was not a decision I was in favor of. But she was so adamant about it, it’s what she really wanted to do.

“Her academics are good, and her tennis is even better,” he added before pausing, then continuing. “But the jury is still out.”

In the coming months, Meg Modesto’s college future should start to become clearer. Based on the tennis recruiting calendar, coaches can begin contacting prospects on July 1 after their junior year. Modesto expressed interest in Valparaiso and Central Florida, fully aware about the contrast between the schools and getting a chuckle out of it. She figures to have options.

Regardless, Modesto has been enjoying the process, comfortable with the path she has chosen.

“It’s been a blast,” she said.



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