Girls tennis senior reflections

Senior varsity tennis players Jay Mascardo and Mohana Sunkara reflect on their final West tennis season.


Marie Stier

Seniors Jay Mascardo and Mohana Sunkara pose after securing their spots in the Individual State Tournament.

Marie Stier, Reporter

Seniors Jay Mascardo and Mohana Sunkara are nearing the end of their last tennis season at West High. The pair, who were named co-captains of the 2023 girls tennis team, reflect on what this season means to them.

What were you looking forward to prior to the season?

Sunkara: I was looking forward to being able to play again, compete for fun and become a part of a new team.

Mascardo: Getting back in shape and playing a sport I had lost love for. Also, the atmosphere was going to be different and that’s something I looked forward to.

How would you describe your senior tennis season?

Sunkara: It was so close to perfect that I wish I had more time. It was everything I wanted; the coaches were perfect, the team was cohesive and at every moment we had fun, even when we were sprinting 40 miles.

Mascardo: It was what I needed my sophomore year and didn’t get. The support I got from my coach and teammates was a reward in itself, and I was able to fall in love with the sport I thought I hated.

How has this season been different for you?

Sunkara: This season has been different for me because the practices have been 40 times more intense. I got much better instead of plateauing, I felt my mental game getting stronger and I never wanted to leave practice.

Mascardo: Like Mo said, the practices felt more beneficial and more tailored to what we needed as a team, rather than just what anyone would need. I felt myself getting better day by day, and not only became a better player, but a better person for my friends, my family and for myself.

Who has supported you this season?

Mascardo: Brenda. She treated me like a person before a player, and that was something I didn’t have my sophomore year. I could go to her and not be afraid when I needed to take a mental health day or rest when I was injured. She genuinely cared about me on and off the court and allowed me to feel more like myself than ever.

Sunkara: All three coaches and my entire team. Although I missed so many practices and meets, I felt supported by my team and wasn’t in the position to think my team would be mad at me. Like Jay said, I can go to Brenda, Gavin and Ann for anything within or outside of tennis.

What’s your biggest takeaway from this season?

Sunkara: My biggest takeaway from this season is to stay happy with yourself because it’s not going to last forever. Sometimes all you need is a new environment and new people to shift your view on something.

Mascardo: Don’t let one bad experience ruin it for you. I am so thankful that I took the time to go out for a sport that meant so much to me.

How are you feeling about the upcoming individual state tournament?

Sunkara: I am excited to play good competition and ready to finish my high school season off strong. Just kidding, I am not ready to finish my season, but I am ready to make it strong.

Mascardo: I am sort of nervous and excited because I know Mo and I can go far, especially with how hard we’ve been working. I know that whatever the outcome is, we deserve it and so much more. Thankfully, this is just the beginning and going into my college tennis career, I feel more ready than ever.


Mascardo and Sunkara will be competing in singles at the Individual Iowa Girls State Tennis Tournament May 26 and May 27 at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center. Mascardo and Sunkara will also be playing doubles with Ankur Karandikar ’24 and Shivy Mannengi ’23 respectively in the State Co-Ed Tournament June 6.