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Hot Seat: North Muskegon’s No. 1 singles tennis player ‘too stubborn to lose’

Fia Lindsay is serious about tennis but she’s more serious about her studies, headed to an Ivy League school.

NORTH MUSKEGON — Fia Lindsay seems to have things under control.

The North Muskegon senior — soon to-be graduate — carries a 4.0 GPA, she’s class president, and she’s headed to the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania for her studies.

According to Norse girls tennis coach Cody Liverance, his No. 1 singles player possesses an under-control demeanor on the court, too.

“It makes my job a whole heck of a lot easier, I’ll say that,” Liverance said with a big grin. “She kind of has everything very well put together, not only as a player — she has that calm demeanor about herself. Very rarely does she get amped up or worked up where we’ve got to talk her down a little bit.

“She just checks all of the other boxes, too, of extracurriculars — class president, one of our better volleyball players. She’s going to Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school. Very few people do you hear about, not only from North Muskegon but in general, who actually get into an Ivy League.”

North Muskegon girls tennis coach Cody Liverance instructs players during a nonleague match against Holland Black River on Monday, April 29, 2024, in North Muskegon, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

Lindsay has been incredibly active at North Muskegon, also involved with Environmental Club, Interact Club, and Harmonics, a girls choir group. In what free time Lindsay does have, she enjoys hanging out at the beach, working out or going for a run, and working at Norm’s Ice Cream Shop in North Muskegon.

The 18-year-old daughter of Bob Lindsay and Zabrina Santiago Lindsay is the baby of the family. She has three older sisters, one who already attends Penn and the other two University of Michigan alumnae.

Fia Lindsay, who stands nearly 6 feet tall, is considering playing club tennis or club volleyball at Penn. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, which is located in Philadelphia, but she’s not exactly sure what she’ll study at this point.

In Liverance’s opinion, Lindsay has been influenced by her family in a very good way.

“She has a sister who also goes to Penn and two of her sisters went to Michigan, so she’s had this instilled from a very, very young age,” Liverance said. “She puts very high expectations on herself, but she’s also able to deliver and I think that comes from a very good home life and what was instilled in her at a young age and it has carried all the way through.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Lindsay has climbed the ranks within North Muskegon’s consistently solid tennis program as well.

She played No. 3 singles as a freshman and sophomore, then moved up to No. 2 singles last spring. It was a strong junior campaign for Lindsay, who was a No. 4 seed in the MHSAA Division 4 state finals. Lindsay advanced to the semifinals at No. 2 singles, where she lost 6-1, 6-2 to eventual state champ Shangyang Xia of Ann Arbor Greenhills, which ran away with the team title as well.

Lindsay finished the 2023 season with a 25-4 record. She was voted the CatchMark SportsNet West Michigan Conference Player of the Year and earned all-state honorable mention accolades for Division 4. She earned titles in the Coastal Conference, Greater Muskegon Athletic Association, and regional.

Entering the WMC tournament today at Ludington, Lindsay is 14-3 on the season.

“Fia is a very consistent and determined player. I like to say she’s ‘too stubborn to lose,'” North Muskegon senior Marilyn Gaston said. “Off the court, (Lindsay is) a natural leader, always cheering on all the matches still on the court.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Lindsay and Gaston form a very solid one-two punch for North Muskegon.

Last season, Gaston played No. 1 singles and she earned first-team all-state honors after making a run to the Division 4 state quarterfinals at that flight.

Gaston boasts a 15-2 record this season at No. 2 singles entering today’s action at Ludington, including coming off a flight championship in the GMAA tourney on Saturday.

“Going into the season, I knew it would be super close in terms of who ended up at 1 (singles) and who ended up at 2. And, honestly, I wasn’t too upset about losing that 1 spot to Fia,” Gaston said. “I know she’s a super good player and would do well there and I knew — not to be pompous — (that) having played at 1 last year, I would have a successful season here at 2.

“Fia and I are the captains on the team this year and we both have been varsity starters since freshman year, so it’s so cool to see all our hard work over the years come to fruition, winning the amount of matches that we have this season.”

Lindsay said her goals were pretty straight forward this season: She wanted a winning record because she’d never played No. 1 singles before.

She’s hoping her team can make it back to the state finals. If that did not happen, then she’d like to get back to the state finals to compete at her No. 1 singles flight.

To Gaston’s point about Lindsay being “too stubborn to lose,” Liverance describes her game as not overpowering but consistent and gritty with enough endurance to outlast opponents, waiting for them to make mistakes.

As Liverance said about tennis, “They don’t ask HOW you won the point; they ask DID you win the point.”

“She’s able to figure it out, which of course like a lot of kids or young adults, they need a little bit of guidance,” Liverance said. “But she — a lot better than a lot of other girls her age — is able to do things on her own and figure out those problems and solve those problems on her own, which is really, really impressive. It’s going to serve her really well in life. She’s going to do some awesome things.

“She’s probably going to make a little money than her tennis coach ever did,” Liverance quipped.


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Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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