Sports Spotlight: Riverside’s Sparrow overcomes bout with COVID-19 to help team to solid season

Senior helped team win opening playoff match, competed at regionals
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Everyone has had the coronavirus impact them in one way or another.

But for one Riverside-Martin student athlete it has been a first hand experience this fall. She also happens to be their top tennis player. We feature Sydney Sparrow in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“I started my sophomore year. I started late and it was something new to try,” says Riverside senior Sydney Sparrow, “I didn’t think I would like it as good as I do now.”

For Riverside-Martin Senior Sydney Sparrow tennis was a quick study. She plays both top singles and doubles for the Knights.

“In doubles I’m good at the net,” Sydney says, “and in singles I’m always running around trying to run the other person.”

“Sydney has been one of those players that when you walk out under the court against her you say maybe I could beat her,” says Riverside head coach Chase Conner, “But I guarantee you once you player you will think differently.”

Sydney and her team all came together as sophomores and has grown into one of the top teams in the area.

“You know we had five girls that started out, and you need six to make a team,” says Conner, “We formed six sophomore year and they’ve grown the last few years to form the number two in the east team.”

“A good group of girls and we’re like a family,” Sydney says.

But this solid senior season could’ve gone much differently for Sydney and her Riverside teammates.

“I actually work at the health department here in town and I’ve had a lot of dealings with COVID but actually when she first got sick we didn’t think it was COVID at first,” says Sydney’s mother Kristie Sparrow, “I brought a kit home and tested her and it came back positive immediately. She mainly was just tired.”

“I couldn’t smell or taste but then it came back but sort of weird,” Sydney says, “I can taste but it’s bland. I can’t really smell anything unless it’s really strong for me to smell it.”

Sydney was able to return.

“I was off for two weeks and I was able to come back,” Sydney says, “It was just really hard catching my breath starting back playing.”

And made the regionals with her doubles teammate Lindsey. She helped the Knights earn this groups first playoff win. A true competitor.

“I’m a lot better now,” Sydney says, “But it took me a good week or two to get back straight.”

“How are you respond or something like that really defines what type of person you are, what type player you are. That’s what Sydney has done,” says Conner, “She came back and performed even stronger during to the end of the season.”

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