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Ryland Serves as Co-Captain for Highlander Boys Tennis

By Adam Baum,

GREEN TWP. - There's a good reason why Oak Hills High School's boys tennis team has a young lady as co-captain.

The girls play high school tennis in the fall, while the boys compete in the spring.

Libbey Ryland, a senior, played with the girls as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

"I'm very involved in the marching band," said Ryland, who will attend the University of Cincinnati and plans to major in Medical Laboratory Science. "I've done that since fifth grade. I play the clarinet in concert band and I marched clarinet the first three years of high school.

"My fourth year, I auditioned to be drum major to lead the band during marching season."

Ryland earned the position and made an agreement with her band director that because the fall tennis season would interfere with her band obligations, she would forgo her senior tennis season.

"So, I couldn't play tennis in the fall because I was drum major," Ryland explained. "But, (Oak Hills tennis) coach (Jeremy Miller) was like, 'Hey, you're still eligible to play with the guys in the spring.'"

Initially, Ryland said, "'Uh, I don't know about this.' At first, I was totally against it. There's no way I'm gonna do this. Then, my brother was telling me about it and he was like, 'You have a chance against a lot of these guys.'"

Miller said, "She originally told me in late summer she couldn't play with the girls ... it was understandable; she loves marching band. Her brother (Oscar, a 2014 Oak Hills grad who also played tennis) always told her she should play with the boys in the spring and focus on band in the fall.

"I told her to come to our preseason meeting in December and she came to it. She was a little timid then but I could kind of get a sense she actually really wanted to do it."

Libbey said the encouragement from her mom, her brother and Miller's belief in her helped convince her.

She's gotten more than a few head tilts from opponents when they see Ryland on the court before matches, but her teammates welcomed her with open arms. Of course, there were times when Ryland doubted her decision, saying, "At first I was really nervous, (thinking) 'They're gonna be so much better than me; I'm never gonna be able to beat any of them.'

"I was very wrong."