Sister duo shines at Del Oro

Beckers give Golden Eagles a strong tandem at the top of the lineup
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Their coach calls their antics comical. Kelsey and Erin Becker, the No. 1 and No. 3 singles tennis players at Del Oro High, are just having fun playing on the same team for the first time. “They’re actually pretty funny. They’re supportive of each other, but they’re very competitive,” head coach Jill Tooker said. “Kelsey likes to tell Erin what to do, and Erin tells her to be quiet and then beats her for the next point.” Kelsey, a junior, masks motivation for her freshman sister in bossy commands. Erin doesn’t mind. “I listen to her even though sometimes she just tells me what to do,” Erin said. “It’s not in a harsh tone. It’s not annoying because she’s my sister.” “She knows I’m kidding but it’s kind of an older sister thing,” Kelsey said. “She’s probably my best friend. I try to help her. She doesn’t really like to hear my advice but maybe she does deep down. She just sometimes gets annoyed. She knows I’m just helping. I’m very proud of her.” The Golden Eagles’ version of Venus and Serena, two of four sisters on the team this year, has led Del Oro to a 5-1 mark. “I’ve had a lot of groups of sisters throughout the years, but in the top three, I’ve never had that before,” Tooker said. Kelsey played her freshman year before taking a break last season, but she quickly reclaimed the top singles rank from sophomore Bryn Bacharach. “She came back because she has a lot of friends on the team and she realized that she wanted to be more of a part of Del Oro than just being a student,” Tooker said. “We’re happy to have her back.” Erin has been a pleasant surprise in her first high school season. “It’s really fun,” she said. “We play at home sometimes but it’s really cool to be able to play singles on a team with my sister. I get to learn from watching her when she plays.” The sisters, whose only losses came against Granite Bay, are hitting partners in practice and work extensively with their father, Dan, who joined the team as an assistant coach this fall. “They’ve been playing most of their youth life and it’s good to see a lot of the time and effort they’ve put in over the years paying off,” he said. “I’m really proud that they made a decision to be part of a team, a high school group instead of just staying within USTA tennis.” Dan’s collegiate tennis experience at University of Illinois has inspired his daughters. “I think we both want to play tennis in college,” said Kelsey, who is ranked in the top 10 among Northern California 16-year-olds. “We don’t really want to be pro or anything, even though that would be nice. We mainly just want to play at a good college.” In addition to her success on the tennis court, Erin is also a standout shooting guard who will make her Del Oro basketball debut this winter. “My sister had to decide between volleyball and tennis,” Erin said. “I like to play competitive basketball, so it’s kind of hard to decide because I really love both sports. I’m glad it’s not in the same season or else it would be too hard to choose. It would be cool to play either one in college.” In the meantime, Erin just hopes to continue improving both her inside and outside sports. And there’s no better motivation than her older sister. “I know she’s older than me and she’s been playing for a longer time, so she’s better than me,” Erin said. “I don’t challenge her or get jealous of her or anything, but I’m glad she’s better so I can have someone that makes me want to do better.”