• Indiana

For Cathedral’s unbeaten three-time state champion Claire Koscielski, tennis is all in the family

By: CHRIS LANDIS, June 24, 2019, 10:09 am

What do Indianapolis Cathedral tennis and the Koscielski family have in common? Titles, lots of titles.

Cathedral has claimed three IHSAA tennis titles and all three have had a common denominator: at least one member of the Koscielski family participating.

In 2016 Claire Koscielski joined her sisters, Maeve and Grace, in sweeping singles’ matches and helping Indianapolis Cathedral to their first team title since 1986 — when mother Amy helped the Irish stake claim to their first title.

Maeve went on to win the individual title in 2016, as well, and the sisters were a combined 83-0.

Success is not just happenstance to Claire Koscielski; it has become a way of life.

In 2018, Claire and her teammate, Meg Coleman, won the individual doubles title.

Now in 2019, Koscielski capped off her high school career in the Indianapolis Cathedral tennis program with a perfect 101-0 record and helped stake claim to the second team tennis title in her four years.

“Winning my third state championship felt almost just like the first,” Claire said. “There were many nerves, but it was very exciting. Winning my individual title last year was fun, but it is always so fun to win as a team.”

Claire also won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award, earned First Team All-State honors, and Academic All-State honorable mention honors this season.

“Winning the mental attitude award meant a lot to me because other people recognized something about my attitude,” said Koscielski. “I have always had a goal to be someone to always have a good attitude, so receiving this award made me feel that I have accomplished this goal.”

Claire’s semi-final and finals match were anything but easy. Koscielski defeated Carmel’s Emma Brune, 6-3, 7-6 in the morning semi-final match then turned around two hours later and defeated Park Tudor’s Caroline Kittle, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, to help the Irish win the title, 3-2.

Three matches in less than 24 hours and to finish a perfect 101-0 career.

“(That) took a lot of effort by everyone,” Claire said. “Mentally I tried to stay calm and keep my positive attitude throughout all matches. Physically it took all I had in my body to win those matches on Saturday. Everyone was getting tired, but I just tried to constantly rejuvenate myself and stay upbeat. I really didn’t think much about the pressure. Instead I just tried to go out there and always play my game.

“I honestly don’t even know where to begin when I think of that (101-0). I never really realized that had happened until our season was over, so I have just been trying to go back and think about all the matches I have played. Mentally I just took one match at a time and never wanted to think about what was coming next.”

As the Koscielski lineage would show, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Father Paul Koscielski was a three-time singles state champion from South Bend Adams in 1982, 1983 and 1984, and mother Amy Boyle was a member of Cathedral’s first girls’ state championship team in 1986. Paul played at the University of Texas and went on to play professionally. Amy played at Miami of Ohio University.

Both sisters played at the next level as Grace went on to play for Ball State and Maeve is currently playing at the University of Notre Dame.

Claire will be taking her talents to the University of Cincinnati next fall, where she will be majoring in business marketing.

“I have been surrounded by tennis my whole life. Both my parents played in college, my dad went on to play pro, and my older sisters both play,” Claire said. “With that being said, I was always really competitive with them. I think my competitiveness and out of season training helped me.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to play college tennis. It has always been a dream of mine to do just what my parents did and what my sister is currently doing. I am expecting college tennis to be a lot different but I am very excited,” said Claire. “The coach and the team were a big part of my decision. While I loved the school and campus, they have an amazing coach who is also a great person. The team also gets along very well.”

So while Claire prepares for her opportunity at the next level she will always look back fondly on her days at Indianapolis Cathedral.

“My teammates and I were all super close this season so winning a state championship with them was so fun for all of us. Everyone on this team worked so hard in school and on the tennis court. I wouldn’t have wanted to win state with any other people,” she said.

“I had the same high school coach for all four years and he was so fun to be around. He always made us laugh and gave us good advice. I wouldn’t have wanted my senior season to end any other way. I had so much fun this year and I am sad to leave my team, but excited for what my future holds.”