Every Monday night for the rest of the high school year, our sports staff will name a Sentinel Athlete of the Week featuring one area athlete who stood out in competition.
This week we select Camp Hill tennis players Spencer and Alex Landis.
The Landis twins, both juniors, won the school's first ever District 3 Class 2A Boys Tennis Doubles championship, defeating No. 2 Littlestown's Brett Gill and Noah DeCampo in Saturday's semifinal, erasing a first-set loss to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. In the final, the two fought past Wyomissing pair Will Schreck and Ben Crost in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0 to win the title.
We decided to break from tradition a little and nominate and talk to both of them.
Q: What are your keys to success as tennis players?
Spencer: In doubles, especially as brothers, it's really important for us to keep a positive attitude. I know with a lot of teams you have to restrain from getting down on each other, but since we're both brothers, we live together and it's easy for us to get down on each other and it can be hard. We have to keep a positive attitude and keeping each other pumped up is really important for us, as well as working well together. In doubles, we've pretty much been playing tennis together with our dad and I think that's what gave us the upper hand. Just having that doubles experience to play together, those years of strategy and just working together as a team.
Q: Why did you decide to play tennis together?
S: Our dad has played and the same with our grandfather for most of their adult lives. Ever since we were toddlers, we played off and on and I think since I was about 10, I picked up tennis permanently and played it as my main sport. Then Alex followed and he kept with basketball and a few other sports, but I mainly played tennis. Ever since that point we've played tennis together.
Q: Is it an added advantage playing as twins? Why or why not?
Alex: I think there's definitely some advantages to being twins and being a doubles team because the chemistry is always there and we understand each other a lot better than I think a lot of teams do just because we're twins, you know. We've played with each other for so long that our games compliment each other and sometimes we know what each other are thinking and we know what to do in that sort of situation. It's just a lot easier to communicate since we're brothers and it's just easier to play that way.
Q: What hobbies do you have outside of your sport?
S: During the school year we're pretty busy with school, but I like to keep up with politics and I read a lot of books surrounding political issues and that of the sort. During the school year there's not much time for other hobbies, especially during the tennis season, so I just try to stay focused in school and work on tennis throughout the year. Then when the tennis season comes, I really try to balance my school work and tennis.
A: For me, it's a lot of the same. I have basketball in the winter, so I'm doing that and I'm still trying to keep up with my tennis game throughout the season. We like to travel, we go on a lot of vacations across the country. Just hang out with each other, hang out with our friends and just playing tennis a lot.
Q: Have you ever tried to impersonate one another? Any particular funny story from it?
S: In the fifth grade, we had a Halloween party and so my mom thought it would be funny, and so did we, that if we dressed up in the morning — we were in different classes at the time — and we each went to our classes, and then we would go home for lunch and then come back in each other's costumes. Then of course we would switch classes. My mom had talked to the principal beforehand and he loved the idea and thought it would be so funny. Then in the afternoon we switched costumes and went to each other's classes and it was funny because every student in each class knew that we were not supposed to be there and we were playing a prank, but the teachers did not know. They could not tell us apart.
A: The first test we took in the classroom they already knew that we were switched and the teacher never really found out, but everyone in the whole school knew that (we were switched).
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?
S: One thing that I'm looking at to study in college is political science with the hope of going to law school. That would just be it, maybe becoming a lawyer.
A: For me, owning some sort of business. Just owning a business and growing it and getting it to be big and making a franchise and stuff like that. Any sort of business, just owning one.
Q: What's one thing your brother is better at than you?
S: Alex is better at most sports than I am. I remember we used to play basketball together and he was always better. I think he's always been more athletically inclined and focused on sports more than I have been. It's always come easier for him, even in soccer. I know in tennis, when we were younger, we were playing an even amount and he was always better than me. But when I began to pick up the racket even more than he did, that's when it became a little bit more even.
A: Spencer's better at writing and he reads more. He's just better at school, I mean, he always did really well, so that's one thing that he's better than me at. He's an excellent writer, he knows how to manage his time really well and all that stuff that comes along with being a hard-worker in school.
Q: Who inspires you the most in life?
S: For me, I would say my grandfather. He grew up on a farm and he didn't have any education past his middle school education, and then he ended up working his way from picking fruit all the way to managing overseas packaging of military supplies for our military personnel that are overseas. He landed this great government job that he was really able to provide his family with. He's still playing tennis at the age of 85. He's always in USTA tournaments and has always been a role model for just having the utmost perseverance and motivation to succeed.
A: For me, it's just really both of our parents in general. They're both just very hard-working and kind people that support us in anything that we do. They never put pressure on us or anything like that. They just let us do what we want and support us. They're hard-working, provide for us and support us.
Q: What's it like to do something that has never been done at Camp Hill before?
S: It feels great. We went into the tournament wanting to do well, but our main goal, of course first and foremost, was to have fun and to play our best. Last year we were in the tournament and we didn't make it past the first round, so this year we wanted the goal of doing better than last year and continuing to build on our successes. We went into each match with a mindset of doing our best, playing our best and being positive with each other that way we could come out of it knowing that we had fun, that we gave it our all. That took us to the final and we ended up winning it. It feels great to have the first title for Camp Hill, but it feels even better to know that we played our best and we had fun with each other and we both lifted each other up.
A: Obviously it's just awesome to know that we put our mark on Camp Hill's history, especially the tennis team, and it's just great. (Spencer) got a lot of it covered.