May Male Athlete of Month-Orion Wilkinson

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Senior tennis number one Orion Wilkinson is out to finally win the big one this year.  The last three years, Wilkinson has taken fourth, third, and second in the state doubles competition.

This season, the senior is paired with fellow classman Nick Kirchoff as the team’s top doubles seed.  Thus far, the team pairing is 10-2.

“I’ve liked all my partners over the years because each of them had a different skill set that we were able to integrate into our games to win,” Wilkinson said.  “But Kirchoff gives the best high fives.”

Freshman year, Wilkinson was paired with class of 2007 graduate Bohan Li and his sophomore year with another senior in Dakin Sloss.  The last two years though, he has built a strong relationship with Kirchoff.

“It’s kind of like I’m the brains of the operation and Kirchoff is the brawn,” Wilkinson said.

The senior duo have lead the tennis Hounds to a team record of 9-3 thus far on the season and will look to win a state title this season.

The tennis district playoffs start next week at John Burroughs where Wilkinson and Kirchoff will be the one seed.

“Fans are always welcome to come watch me and Kirchoff put on a show,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson’s best watch actually came against the John Burroughs number one.

“I ended up losing 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 in a super tie breaker but I hit a tweener on set point to win the first set which was nice,” Wilkinson said.

Indeed Wilkinson will be looking to avenge that loss come district time.  If he can bring his A game, he and Kirchoff should be able to do that with ease.

“I mean if my volleys and backhand are really going well during matches, it’s going to be tough to stop me,” Wilkinson said.

At the same time, he still knows that he has plenty to improve in his game.

“The day that my game is perfect is the day I will quit,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson will look to better his already well-polished game at Cornell College in Iowa next season where he will be the team’s number three as a freshman.

What the college coaches saw in Wilkinson is something most of Missouri high school tennis has been amazed by the last four years of his impressive high school career in which he has tallied around 90 wins.

“Orion has been a very good high school player and I’m sure he will do continue to beast at the college level,” junior tennis player Simon Warchol said.  “I really think that he will have an extremely good chance to win a state title this season.”

If Wilkinson is able to finally break through at state this season, there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the best tennis players in Clayton High history.

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