Getting there was never easy for Breck senior Isabelle Einess.
Einess completed a transcendent two-year run at No. 1 singles for the Mustangs girls tennis team, finishing her final season with her second consecutive Class 1A singles championship. She is the Star Tribune's Metro Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
Einess stepped away from high school tennis having won 47 matches and 115 games in a row.
"That's probably what I'm most proud of," said Einess, who will play at Seton Hall in New Jersey next season.
Her only high school loss came three years ago. That day Einess' battle with anxiety on the tennis court came to a head.
Then a sophomore at Minnehaha Academy and ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, she was preparing to face teammate Ancele Dolensek for the singles state championship.
But something wasn't right. She couldn't catch her breath. Her heart was racing. She couldn't get her legs to move.
"I've always struggled with nerves and anxiety before matches," Einess said. "That day I played Ancele was probably the worst."
Einess made a pact with herself to do everything in her power to keep the nerves at bay. To her that meant being prepared.
She made a point of practicing after the team was done. She got up for strength and conditioning before school. She saw a sports psychologist.
She improved at tennis and at dealing with anxiety.
"I always wanted to make sure I was getting better," she said. "I made sure to hit with better players. I'm always going to give 100 percent.
"My anxiety is always going to be something I have to deal with. It's not in the rear-view mirror. But I think it's good for younger players to have role models who show their vulnerability. You don't need to be perfect. You can have faults and overcome them."