Veteran leads young squad by example

By Laura Hancq
March 9, 2011

Cabrini’s No.1 men’s tennis player was always a standout in baseball and swimming. As a starting pitcher for Audubon High Schooll the dream always was to swim and pitch in college.

It wasn’t until Walter Jesuncosky, junior history major, tore his rotator cuff that he put down the baseball and picked up the racquet. Because of the position of the rotator cuff and the different rotations of the shoulder, Jesuncosky was no longer able to pitch a baseball without tremendous pain, but he did realize he could swing the racket quite well.

Tennis does not come without any pain for Jesuncosky, but he said he is able to play through it. And what a job he has done, as he has moved all the way up from the backup sixth singles spot to being the No. 1 player, as well as captain.

As Jesuncosky said, Cabrini tennis originally recruited him as a backup while he also swam for the Cavaliers. However, he ended up beating out the tennis player who held the sixth spot, and he started playing full time. He won All-Conference for that spot, gave up swimming, and was asked to be captain and the top-spot player as a sophomore.

“He made a big transition from the sixth spot to the first, but he has never complained and has embraced the position, while playing some great tennis,” Joe Stafford, senior teammate, said.

Jesuncosky found himself in quite the stressful situation after his freshman season. After being given the captain title by his coach for his incredible performance, Jesuncosky and the coaching staff were facing an empty roster due to graduation and sudden transfers.

“I was definitely freaked out because here I was as a sophomore, the captain, and all of a sudden, the only returning player,” Jesuncosky said. “Somehow though, everything fell together and a great group of guys from all grades fell out of absolutely nowhere to form a team and now we’re better than ever.”

The Cavaliers were ranked the No. 4 seed in the pre-season CSAC coaches’ poll, which if they can hold it, will be enough to secure a playoff spot. Jesuncosky describes it as a complete turnaround.

“We joke around a lot on the team about us being a Cinderella story,” Jesuncosky said. “But it actually really could turn out to be true.”

As for the joking, Jesuncosky is the type of captain who likes to help the team stay loose.

“I just try and do the little things, and I really like to do fun stuff that will make the guys laugh,” Jesuncosky said. “I think that helps get us more focused and back on track.”

His teammates would say that Jesuncosky has truly worked for everything he has accomplished and his effort is what is most inspiring about his leadership.

“Walt leads by example,” Stafford said. “He has really earned the respect of everybody on the team.”

The captain has his goals set on a CSAC championship and getting redemption from last year. He has a personal rival with Gwenydd-Mercy College, but he will be helping the team focus strongly on defeating archrival and No.1 seed, Marywood University. Jesuncosky believes facing Marywood in the playoffs would be one of the greatest moments for Cabrini men’s tennis.

After college, Jesuncosky hopes to pursue a career in sports management with a professional sports team. He also has gotten involved with coaching and teaching tennis, and plans to continue that after his time with Cabrini is over.

While Jesuncosky plans to play tennis for as long as his life allows, right now, he is a Cavalier on a mission of leading the tennis team on a Cinderella run to big victory.



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Laura Hancq

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