Each week during the spring sports season (and beyond), we’ve featured a high school senior who was unable to compete because the season was suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have called it the Senior Spotlight (During a Pandemic), and this will be the final installment.

We asked them a variety of questions, including how they dealt with the state’s stay-at-home order when they were supposed to be enjoying the final months of their senior year, and how this ordeal might someday change them.

In the spotlight this week is Alvaro Mancillas, Belvidere tennis player:

Name: Alvaro Mancillas

Age: 18

School: Belvidere

Sports participated in as a senior: Boys tennis, and girls tennis manager in the fall.

Accomplishments: I graduated with honors, cum laude; last year I was MVP for the tennis team.

Greatest sports memory: I think it was at an away game last year and we went to Harlem, I think. We went through a turn on the road at this exit, but it was the wrong way, and we had to go back through, and we ended up going around and around. My teammate started humming this song (from the circus) and we all started cracking up.

Biggest sports blooper: Last year we had a game day, and we showed up to the court and all the courts were damaged. We couldn’t use anything, so we just went home. Of course that was on April Fool’s Day, which made it even funnier.

Favorite coach: I’d say Coach (Sue) Thomas and Coach (Annalisa) Schindler. They’ve been my only main two coaches, so that one is easy.

Favorite teacher: My favorite teacher is Ms. (Danielle) Turner. She teaches health class. We clicked right away and we’ve been good friends and have talked a lot.

Biggest influence in your life: My parents would be my biggest influences in my life, because they encourage me to do better. They’re always there for me and they support me in everything.

Did you learn much from e-learning, or online learning? No. I really didn’t have to do much with that. I only had like one class.

What do you do now to keep busy and to stay positive? Most of my time I’m either working — I work at Journey at the mall — or work out, and go out and play tennis with my friends.

What have you done to stay in shape during the lockdown, or to stay ready for your sport? I guess usually, during quarantine, I would work out in my basement, and that kept me ready. And once they opened the tennis courts I’ve been playing a lot.

What is your favorite thing to do for fun — before, and now? Before the pandemic I would go out to entertainment places and stuff. And now, well, I’ve just been home a lot, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. Like, I’m OK with being home.

Who is your sports hero? I’d say my friend Lupita (Rivera); she got me into tennis.

How tough has it been missing out on your senior season? I think it really hurt me, because last summer I spent so much time playing, and this was going to be my last year. I had practiced a lot and I know I was going to be better. I even went and was the manager for the girls tennis just to improve my game. And it’s kind of like that was all for nothing.

How do you think this pandemic and the lockdown will change you? I’d say, like I said before, I took a lot of time for myself during the pandemic. I found new hobbies, I was OK with not going out all the time, and I was OK spending time with my family. It was different.

Jay Taft: @[email protected]; @JayTaft

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