Claudia aces it on the court


Claudia Bilkey (11) warms up before a match.

Claudia Bilkey. Stud tennis player. Hilarious friend. Team goofball. The best advice giver. Incredible leader. Someone you genuinely would want to be a part of your life.

Claudia Bilkey (11) is quite the tennis player. She has gone to state the past two years and made it to day two of three, which only shows some of her amazing accomplishments. Claudia has substantially helped contribute to the girls tennis team here at VHHS since her freshman year. 

She has determination like no other. Claudia steps onto that tennis court and instantly she is ready to not just play, but to win.

Mr. Gerber, head tennis coach, touched on this when he said, “She has that determination, she wants to do well, she wants to play well. And because of that, she keeps setting goals for herself.”

I asked a teammate and close friend of Claudia’s, Anjali Parande (11) one word to describe Claudia.

“Driven. Claudia knows what she wants, and I like the fact that she’s always trying to get it.”

Claudia has grown or “evolved” as Mr. Gerber said, since freshman year. She has been playing the same position since then and has demonstrated continuous leadership skills throughout the years, even when she was an underclassman. 

Teammate Parande talked about how great of a leader Claudia is when she said, “I think she really leads by acting. Claudia does a really amazing job at never giving up and always making sure that the other teammates aren’t giving up as well.”

Claudia has had so much talent since her freshman year. Along with this, came a lot of pressure. People put attention on her because she was so much younger and already an amazing player. She needed to uphold her reputation.

“It was definitely really stressful, especially because there are older people and you feel like you need to play the same as them, even though you’re younger,” Claudia said. 

As Mr. Gerber said, she is very goal-oriented and sets goals for herself frequently. Making it to state is an expectation for her. She goes into every season with the mindset that she needs to make it to state. No excuses ever. 

“The first day, I feel like, at this point making state is not an option. Like I have to do it. If I don’t keep being the best, I guess that I’m disappointed in myself,” Claudia said.

Although tennis is a huge part of Claudia’s persona, it isn’t all that she is. She has the ability to balance her school life, tennis life, and social life very well. 

Claudia is a great student who focuses on her schoolwork before her tennis skills even come into discussion. 

During school hours, Claudia focuses on her schoolwork before tennis is even thought about. She gets her homework done so that after school the main priority is tennis. On weekends, she balances her studies and tennis very well. 

Although Claudia is seen as a very determined tennis player to her coach and teammates, she also has a super fun and outgoing side to her.

Imagine this. The bus is filled with silence and everyone is just minding their own business heading toward an away match. Out of nowhere, Claudia whips up a tennis rap. Clearly tennis isn’t the only talent she has.

“So she’ll sit on the bus and she’ll start busting her rhyme,” Mr. Gerber said.  “She does dabble in rapping.”

One night last year, Anjali Parande and Claudia had a sleepover and Claudia brought an Ouija Board. This spooky, intense sleepover activity has stuck in Anjali’s mind forever. Anjali said that Claudia is so entertaining and can always brighten the mood in any given situation.

“Every day is an adventure with Claudia,” Parande said.