COUNTY CONNECTION | Former Greenwood Tennis Stars & Siblings Make It A Family Affair
02/28/2017 07:30 PM
Former state champion at Greenwood High School and current UK tennis player Beck Pennington is entering his last season at UK. For Beck, he chose tennis just as much as tennis chose him.
“Pretty much, really big tennis background for my whole family. My dad played at Western Kentucky for two or three years and his mom played,” Pennington explained. “So obviously it’s been a big influence. I have a sister that plays at Western Kentucky, D-1 tennis and my older sisters played as well, so it’s really cool to have a big family- I have four sisters, so there’s seven of us overall and we all play tennis. It’s had a pretty big influence on me.”
For the entire family; aunts, uncles and cousins included, it’s been a way for them to spend some time together and engage in some friendly competition.
“We have a court in the backyard, in the back of my house, so every time I come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or anything we’re always on the back court and have a good time with that,” Pennington added.
“Beck and Cassie are so far ahead of the rest of us, you know, they’re just toying with us,” said Tom Pennington, Beck and Cassie’s father.
Sometimes it brings out a little sibling rivalry.
“Best in the family is Jacob, that’s for sure. But when I’m a senior I’ll be better than him,” said Parker Young. Parker is Beck’s younger cousin and a freshman at Greenwood, following in Beck’s footsteps on the tennis court.
“Every time I hit. Even though I already had a coach he would always come over and coach me and try to tell me what to do and I’d always get a little aggravated with him just because it’s my older brother trying to tell me what to do,” added Cassie Pennington, Beck’s younger sister, a sophomore tennis player at WKU.
Cassie can take the criticism, but she can also dish it out.
“She comes to the matches up here in Lexington you know, a few times and you know, she’s definitely not too shy to give me a few pointers,” Beck laughed.
“I try to give him tips and sometimes it goes a little bit more than tips and its kind of- gets into arguments so I try not to cross that line,” explained their younger cousin Jacob Young, Parker’s brother and a senior on the GHS tennis team.
The family’s love for tennis centers around one woman- the late Garnet Pennington.
“Every year she took us to Fort Morgan Beach down in Florida and she’d always rent a house that had a tennis court- two tennis courts there, so even when she couldn’t play she’d stand around and watch us and watch us have fun and razz one another and do drills and so it meant a lot to her,” Tom recalled of his mother.
“She’s the one who started the tennis tradition in our family and she played up until she was 80 and could barely move so she definitely loved the sport and had as much passion for it as anyone I’ve ever met,” Cassie told Spectrum News.
“She would love it. I know she would,” Parker added.
As Beck finishes out his senior season, he has his entire family behind him.
“For him to be at University of Kentucky at a high D-1 level- they’re a top 15 team. For him to be at that level without a lot of peer influence and a lot of people to play with- extremely proud of him,” Tom added.
“Try to wear a UK hoodie now and then to support him and then my coach gets a little aggravated,” Cassie joked.
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