Shorewood’s Sasha Gaeth, one of the top players in the state, works on her backhand during a practice session Tuesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Shorewood’s Sasha Gaeth, one of the top players in the state, works on her backhand during a practice session Tuesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Shorewood tennis star Gaeth poised beyond her years

Arnie Moreno knew his tennis program was getting an infusion of talent last year. He had heard of Sasha Gaeth and had even watched her play a few times.

But the Shorewood High School tennis coach hadn’t fully comprehended Gaeth’s talent or identified the dominant trait that makes her special.

“I’ve had other freshmen who have made the team before,” Moreno said. “When she finally arrived and got here, it was like anticipation, and we knew it was coming. My reaction was a big smile on my face.”

Only a few weeks into Gaeth’s first season, Moreno began to understand Gaeth’s unique quality.

The Shorewood freshman was steeped in talent thanks to a wealth of experience playing USTA tennis year-round, but Gaeth had to earn the T-Birds’ No. 1 singles spot by dispatching a pair of returning seniors.

Most freshmen would be apprehensive and full of nerves, but not Gaeth.

“Both of them knew how good Sasha was,” Moreno said. “I think they were more nervous about playing her than her playing them. She won their respect.”

That was the first time Moreno witnessed Gaeth’s immense poise, mental toughness and maturity. She displayed it during her first varsity match, throughout her freshman regular season and in a postseason run that claimed a league title, district title and a fourth-place finish at the Class 3A state tournament.

Gaeth finished last spring with a 25-1 record, losing only two sets all year, which occurred during a state quarterfinal defeat to the eventual second-place finisher.

Never was a moment too big for Gaeth, and as a freshman she’d already grasped the importance of keeping a level head throughout a game that takes extreme mental toughness to master.

“In tennis you can’t dwell on something you did wrong or it will affect your play in the future,” explained Gaeth, who started playing tennis on a whim at 8 years old. “You need to think of what you did wrong and fix it immediately and move on.”

Gaeth learned that lesson during a USTA tournament in January of 2016. She described a match in which she had won the first set 6-2 and was leading the second 5-2 before letting a few mistakes build upon each other, and before she could stop the downward spiral, she let the match slip away.

Now Gaeth takes measures to ensure her mental state is in the right place by collecting herself using deep breathes or self-talk. It’s a technique Moreno has seen Gaeth implement on several occasions.

Not only has Gaeth figured out how to keep mentally focused, she also uses her mental game to beat opponents by analyzing how to best attack in a manner that accentuates her own strengths.

“She plays a very aggressive style that isn’t just your typical baseline play,” Moreno said. “You can tell when a player has a ton of match experience, and I think that is what separates her and other top players in the state. On her strokes, she has a high degree of skill, but it’s what she does with it mentally. That is when her maturity shows up. She has a game plan. She knows what she does best, and she attacks the ball. She has an overall game that gives her an edge.”

Gaeth’s goal is to play NCAA Division 1 tennis. She is ranked as a three-star prospect on, and Moreno said she is ranked among USTA’s top 25 players in the state for her age bracket.

Moreno is just pleased he has this spring and two more seasons to work with one of the state’s premier players.

“I think I could for sure place higher than fourth (in state),” Gaeth said. “That is my main personal goal, and we’ll see how my draw plays out.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Mariners Ty France walks on the field during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Mariners lose 2nd straight against Rangers

Adolis Garcia’s go-ahead single in the 7th puts Texas up for good.

Poe Pinson railslides during a warm up before the start of the Street League Skateboarding women’s final on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Gallery: Street League Skateboarding comes to Angel of the Winds

Top professional women skateboarders compete in Street League Skateboarding final

Jose Zunino rides Slew's Tiz Whiz to victory during the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs in Auburn on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Emerald Downs)
Slew’s Tiz Whiz takes 1st at Longacres Miles

The 4-year-old gelding became the first Washington-bred horse to win the race since 2015.

Seattle Storm logo
Storm close regular season with loss to WNBA-best Las Vegas

Jewell Loyd scored a career-high 38 points, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Aces.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox pounded by Dust Devils

Stevan Rivas started a string of 12 straight Tri-City runs with a grand slam in the 1st inning.

Seattle Seahawks running back DeeJay Dallas (31) leaps to the end zone for a touchdown as Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Buddy Johnson (45) hits him during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Late fumble costs Seahawks in preseason opener with Steelers

Drew Lock led a pair of game-tying touchdown drive in the 2nd half but his turnover led to a game-winning drive.

Mukilteo native Kim Beard competes in the hammer throw at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif. (Provided photo)
Mukilteo’s Beard wins national junior hammer throw title

The 14-year-old takes first and a host of other locals earn high finishes at the Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.

Background, in the foreground, surges past Windribbon to win the 2021 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs. Background will attempt to defend his title on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Emerald Downs)
Giddyup!: Background looks to defend Longacres Mile title

The 87th running of the event takes place Sunday at Emerald Downs.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Pitching, defense fail AquaSox in loss to Dust Devils

Everett surrenders 11 runs and commits a pair of costly errors against Tri-City.

Most Read