Gibault tennis star adjusting well to life at Quincy University
Ouincy University (QU) sophomore Michael Lesko of Waterloo is confident that QU will make it to the Great Lakes Valley Conference tennis tournament in Romeoville at the end of this season.
So far the Hawks are 4-2 in non-conference matches and Lesko, who currently plays No 3 on the singles team and No. 2 doubles team, has already had some memorable moments.
In Quincy’s August opener, the Billiken Classic in St. Louis, Lesko and doubles partner Wyatt Pauley beat St. Louis University’s top doubles team in what has been described as a stunning comeback. The duo recovered from a 2-5 deficit to win the match 7-6. Then on Sept. 19 ,Lesko and Pauley beat Michael Bruen and Joshua Gronowski of Judson University 8-6 in the Quincy tourney. On Sept. 22, the duo won the No. 2 doubles match against Truman State 8-5, with two straight games ending on Lesko serves.
Lesko's career at Gibault Catholic High School can only be described as stellar.
As the school’s No. 1 singles player, he posted an overall record of 85-30 and he was the Hawk’s MVP in each of his four years. His record as a senior was 26-6. As a sophomore in 2012, Lesko became only the second player in school history to qualify for state. Among his other accolades: First Team All-Area (2014, Belleville News Democrat poll), First place in the Carbondale sectionals and second place in the Belleville sectionals (2014), and fourth place in the Belleville sectionals (2012).
Unlike many students, Lesko has had little difficulty with his transition into college life.
“I wouldn’t say it [the transition] was tough," Lesko recently told th Southwest Illinois News. "I feel like I was pretty well prepared from high school, I was very active in sports and extracurricular activities."
Lesko was a member of the math team, the National Honor Society, the chess club and the student council. He also played the trombone in the jazz and pep bands.
As Lesko has settled in at Quincy, he has placed a high priority on his work in the classroom and wants to maintain at least a 3.50 GPA. He is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and recently was elected treasurer.
“That is another reason that I am pushing harder on the academics, being in charge of all of the fraternity’s money means that I have to be a lot more responsible," he said. "Academics have to be at higher standard because I’m on the executive board."
Lesko’s long-time tennis mentor is Johnny Connors, who teaches at the St. Clair Club. Connors is the brother of the legendary Jimmy Connors and has been working with Lesko for more than five years. Lesko credits him with his continued improvement as player.
“He’s one of the main reasons that I am good enough to play in college now,” Lesko said.
Lesko has recently declared marketing as his major with a minor in sports management. While he stills hopes to be competing in the St. Louis metro area summer tournaments long after he leaves college, he wants to pursue a tennis-related career as well.
“I’d like an occupation to do with tennis, maybe run a pro shop or be a teaching pro," he said. "I would also like to be a sales representative for Wilson or one of the major tennis companies. That would be pretty cool."
The Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule begins April 2 with a home match against Drury.