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Messbargers keep love of game in family
Jennifer Kardell
Antelope Staff
Photo by Jennifer Kardell
Messbarger vs. Messbarger: The score is love all in this match.
Infographic by staff
Infographic by staff

It seems like most families can get on each other’s nerves when they spend too much time together. That is not the case for the Messbarger family.

Senior Kristen Messbarger and sophomore Nickola Messbarger have played tennis together as long as they can remember. They played together at Kearney Catholic and were coached by their father, Ron. Now playing together for the Lopers, it is apparent the love for the game is a family affair for the Messbargers.

Playing for the Messbargers: Two younger sisters, Lauren and Michelle; parents Ron and Margaret; and grandparents Chick and Judy Messbarger— who got the family started playing tennis.

“My dad’s entire side of the family plays tennis. This includes my dad’s four siblings and our 15 cousins. It’s amazing how much family support we have. Our parents, sisters and grandparents are at just about every match. Our parents and sisters even flew down to Florida last year when we competed in the National Tournament,” Nickola said.

Kristen can’t fathom playing anywhere else or without her sister. “Never could I imagine playing without my sister. I did what I could to talk Nickola into coming and playing at UNK just so we could be on the same team. I don’t know if it was me, but it worked,” Kristen said.

Nickola adds, “We try to push each other and make each other better. We’ve never had a desire to play against each other.”

Tennis is more than a game to both of the girls. Both play singles and doubles for UNK. “To me tennis is way more than just a sport or a way to exercise. It’s a fun, challenging, a stress reliever and a huge part of my life. It’s something I can do with my family, and will always be able to play— even once my college career is done. I have loved competing with Kristen, though we have a few disagreements but what siblings don’t? It’s like having your best friend on the team. They’re always there if you need to talk to someone, need a hug or to laugh. She is always looking out for me —which as younger siblings know can be annoying sometimes— but then again it just proves that they care. We’ve been through a lot together, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything, especially our competition years together.  I’m sad that this is our last semester competing on the same team,” Nickola said.

Kristen is on the same page as her sister when it comes to making tennis a lifestyle, “For me tennis has always been a competitive stress reliever that I can’t get enough of. Being able to share that love and competitiveness over the years with my best friend has been awesome. Who wouldn’t want to be teammates with their best friend?”

You can catch the Messbargers and the rest of the women’s tennis team in action on March 27 at 8 a.m. when the team will host the Minnesota State University Mankato.

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