Anna Zumwinkle didn’t appear bitter about losing the Class 1A tennis doubles championship match to her younger sister, Grace, on Oct. 30.
She didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss.
Only three days later, Anna and Grace were back practicing together for the Breck girls’ hockey team, where they are top players. The two are hoping to lead the Mustangs to their first state appearance since 2012. Breck has lost to rival Blake in the past three section championships.
“It’s been our whole team’s dream to get back there,” said Anna, a senior defenseman who has committed to play hockey at Middlebury, a Division III program. “We know that we’ve just got to take one game at a time [and] do our best each day.”
The team likely will rely heavily on scoring from Grace, a junior forward who has committed to the Gophers. Grace led the team last year with 39 goals, and this summer she was a member of the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Select Team.
“She has the ability to control the game,” Breck coach Ronda Engelhardt said. “She can score, she’s strong, she’s fast [and] she hits the puck harder than most girls’ hockey players.”
Anna also shoots the puck well, Engelhardt said, and is a natural leader. She’s taken well to her sister’s success and has inspired Grace to work hard. Anna is Grace’s biggest fan.”
That’s not to say Anna doesn’t boast her own impressive athletic résumé. As an eighth-grader, Anna qualified for the Class 2A golf tournament and was part of Breck’s state championship hockey team. She helped the tennis team win a state title in 2013 and the golf team to back-to-back state appearances.
Grace also made the state golf tournament as an eighth-grader, finishing 17th. She won the Class 1A doubles title last year with Kendall Kozikowski, who is Anna’s age.
This year, Grace teamed up with Kozikowski’s younger sister, Lauren, for the doubles tournament, while Anna and Kendall Kozikowski played together. The older sisters defeated their younger sisters in the section championship, but Grace and Lauren won the state title in straight sets.
“I was happy that we both made the state championship,” Anna said. “I’m glad [that] if I had to lose to someone, it was her.”
Before the match, Breck coach Anna Gorde gathered the girls and compared them to tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams. She reminded them to treat the match like they would any other.
The sisters appeared to take the message to heart, especially Grace and Lauren. That duo played its best match of the season, Gorde said, with Grace playing a strong net game.
“Her play, I think, just made the difference,” Gorde said.
The sisters’ biggest strength is their athletic ability, Gorde said, noting they don’t have a lot of time to practice tennis in the offseason. They play hockey during the fall season, too, but always show up ready to compete.
“They seem to be able to play together and just be sisters when it gets done,” she said. “They kind of move on to the next thing.”
That’s not to say they aren’t competitive with each other. They also aren’t afraid to give tough love when necessary, Grace said.
“But at the end of the day, we’re there for each other,” she said.
Added Anna, “We’re kind of like teammates for life. We’re there to support each other in everything that we do.”