By Sheri Duff
Emily Polhemus is versatile. And that’s just the beginning of the accolades Champlain Valley Union (CVU) head girls tennis coach Amy Degroot heaps on her senior stalwart. “Underneath Emily’s quiet demeanor lies a fierce competitor. Take any drill and add a competitive element to it and all of a sudden Emily’s intensity spikes up,” coach Degroot maintains. “She is a cagey player who dictates play using several different strategies.”
Born on July 17, 1995 Polhemus has lived in Shelburne her entire life. Her family includes parents, Cassie and Fred, younger sister Katie, a CVU sophomore, and a dog named Karley.
Polhemus credits her mother for her first foray into the sport. “My mom signed me up for tennis camp at the Sports & Fitness [formerly Twin Oaks] with Jake Agna when I was about seven years old,” Polhemus recalls. “At first tennis was something I could do a while my mom worked out at the club. It wasn’t until I was a little older that it became something more.”
Her determination and commitment to tennis has paid off for the Redhawks. A four-year varsity tennis player Polhemus and the team continue to dominate in Div. 1. The team has won the state crown two of the past three years and is on the verge of a second consecutive perfect season. Coach Degroot points out that “Emily is personally undefeated in singles this year where she has played in the #2 and #3 positions. And at the Vermont State Individual Tournament Emily won the doubles with Claire Stoner as a freshman and came in 4th in singles as a junior. I don’t know of many people who have done so well in both singles and doubles,” coach Degroot admitted. “Hardworking, dependable and friendly, Emily has contributed greatly over these past four years to the tennis team. It has been an honor for me to work with her.”
After a thoughtful minute Polhemus mentions her greatest achievement to date, “As a junior I placed fourth in singles in the state. I had to beat opponents that I had never played before. It was a big accomplishment for me,” she said.
Polhemus is not all about tennis either. She sits on the teen advisory board of TeenOpps, a non-profit organization that maintains an online listing of ways for Vermont teenagers to engage with the world around them, spent the first semester of her senior year in China, and is gainfully employed at Wake Robin. A waitress in the dining hall since her return from China, Polhemus courageously drove the cart that picks up golf balls at the driving range at Kwiniaska Golf Course last summer.
As for next year this talented athlete will attend Northeastern University in Boston to pursue her interest in biology. “My reasons for choosing Northeastern is its coop opportunities and its high job placement after graduation,” she offered. And with that this versatile, competitive student will no doubt ace her academic endevors and keep the ball in her court.