In each of her four varsity seasons on the tennis court, Dana Kleinman of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, improved. As a senior, she enjoyed an outstanding week where she won three matches – against Brecksville, Rocky River and Massillon Jackson.
That performance led her to being named the Cleveland Jewish News-Buffalo Wild Wings Player of the Week.
“I think this season was probably my best season,” said Kleinman, 17. “I think I really improved a lot over the course of the four years and it seemed like all my hard work was finally paying off during the season.”
Kleinman, an Auburn Township resident, had her work cut out for her as she played with many different and younger partners. She finished with a 6-5 record.
“A lot of my partners were weaker than I was, so my opponents would try to target them, which would make it kind of difficult,” she said. "So, the only way for me to really win a point was if I went and attacked the ball. I think because we played such strong players that they recognized their weaknesses and try to keep the ball away from me, which makes it difficult.
“I’m really good at keeping a positive attitude when I’m losing and just trying to push myself to work harder when I’m not playing my best.”
Kleinman liked how the team was supportive and pulled for each other.
“One of the things I really liked was how our team, stayed for the entire match, even’ after they finished theirs,” she said. “Everyone was really supportive of each other. For me being a senior, it really meant a lot at my senior night that everyone contributed to help out and make it a great night.”
Coach Greg Aten has been impressed with her maturity since she entered the program.
“For a kid that came in as a freshman, she was very intimidated by everything,” said Aten, in his fifth year at the school and 34th season overall coaching boys’ and girls’ teams. "She’s now become a leader and one of the kids on the team everyone looks up to, and she’s been great with the younger kids, just bringing them along.”
“Our program is extremely competitive; we’ve been to the state finals four years in a row, so on this team, to make the team with new kids coming in all the time, it’s extremely competitive and she just continued to work at her game and get better every year. She’s been one of our team leaders and just a good kid.
“We kind of rotate things around quite a bit at HB with different teams so she has kind of been playing with the younger girls that are coming into the fold. But she is one of our stronger doubles players that we put her with younger kids.”
Kleinman plans to study biochemistry and molecular biology, and play tennis at Dickinson College, an NCAA Division III school in Carlisle, Pa.
She attends Solon Chabad and was on the Maurice Saltzman Youth Panel for 2019-20.