The Schaumburg girls tennis team will have a new look this season.
It's not because of their junior-heavy team, but the fact Jenn Limjoco-Kerr has taken over as the Saxons' head coach.
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Jason Campbell, who was the head coach for seven years, will now be the assistant to Limjoco-Kerr, who was at the junior varsity level in the 2010 season.
Limjoco-Kerr brings her extensive knowledge and experience to the forefront. She began her career at Rolling Meadows where she played under current head coach Jim Gumz.
She qualified for the state tournament her junior year. In her senior year, she was ranked No. 2 in the sectional tournament, but was forced to withdraw because of an unfortunatee accident.
"My goals for the team are the same as when I coached JV," said Limjoco-Kerr, who is entering her third year on the coaching staff. "The goal is to get better every year. We need to make strides every day through the year and keep moving up the ladder."
Limjoco-Kerr played for four years at the University of Illinois-Chicago. In addition to her experience as a player, during the offseason, Limjoco-Kerr was the tennis pro at Schaumburg Tennis Plus and is currently the tennis pro at the Prairie Stone Health and Wellness Center in Hoffman Estates.
Gumz recalled Limjoco-Kerr as an outstanding athlete; she not only played tennis but also basketball. Limjoco-Kerr helped Gumz and the Mustangs win a conference title in her senior year.
"Two big things: be thoroughly prepared and make it enjoyable for the players," Gumz said when asked about words of advice he would share with Limjoco-Kerr. "I always thought she would be a good coach. She's got an education degree in English. She coached (at Meadows) part-time and was an assistant at Wheeling. I know this is a great transition for her.
"You always feel good to see your former students and players have success in every facet of life."
Limjoco-Kerr's former teammate Jill Schwartz is an assistant to Gumz. Gumz expressed his pleasure of seeing the dynamic of watching two of his former pupils converse during sectionals in the 2010 season.
"I'm very excited about Jenn taking over the program this year," Campbell said. "(Limjoco-Kerr) is the most qualified person to take over. She brings a lot of her success she had in college, depth as a coaching pro and a new level of expertise and enthusiasm.
"The girls really relate to Jenn. She knows everyone's weaknesses and strengths in the program being at the JV level for two years."
Campbell kept the news secret from the players, since he knew of the regime change while entering the 2010 season. Campbell broke the news after Schaumburg junior and No. 1 singles player Monica Lin completed her fifth-place state tournament finish.
Limjoco-Kerr went straight to work as she frequently stressed the importance of practicing their techniques and participating in training camp over the summer.
"My first year here I was shocked with how many people didn't show up," Limjoco-Kerr said. "The turnout is even better than last year. It definitely has progressively increased. We had more top players coming and even playing in the offseason."
Limjoco-Kerr expressed her excitement of competing with a strong junior class led by Katie McClure and Lin, who is still deciding whether or not to play national-level tennis.
"This is my third year of varsity and I've seen a lot of different coaches through my career," McClure said. "The coaching change won't be difficult at all. We love both coaches. (Coach) Campbell will still be around, and we practice together with Jenn all the time, so we're very familiar with her."
The Saxons begin their season with Niles West and move right into tournament play as they host their invitational Saturday.
"As long as we bloom through the season we have more of a chance to get to state," Limjoco-Kerr said. "We always want our girls to play against strong players to get better. Campbell and I balance each other very well. We make a great team."