Northrop girls tennis a window to the world

May 15, 2023


For the Northrop girls tennis team, this season has certainly been a worldly one.

That’s because of the 16 girls on the varsity roster, eight of them were born outside of the United States; and another five were born in this country to parents who came here from around the world.

“A couple of the bus rides home, where the girls are teaching their teammates different sayings and different customs,” head coach Mike Krahn tells “You start to think we really do have a melting pot here.”

These Bruins come from all corners of the globe: Sudan, India, Canada, Germany, Thailand, Serbia and Kazakhstan. Some are experiencing the American dream of their Nigerian or Vietnamese parents, while others have experienced the horrors of civil war in places like Myanmar.

All have come together as Bruins, blending backgrounds, religions, languages and so much more into one tennis team.

“I enjoy being part of the tennis team,” senior Mi Sar Yar Chan says. “Experiencing new things and people’s culture. I think it’s interesting and fun to learn about them.” Mi Sar Yar was born in Thailand to Mon parents from Myanmar. Her came to the United States nine years ago after living in Malaysia.

“In my country, we don’t really play sports in school,” Yana Boyeva, a Kazakhstani exchange student, adds. “Any sports I did here were my first time doing that sport at all. At first, it was kind of hard. But I’m enjoying it so much. And I will do tennis when I go home, too.”

Yana—who was born in Kazakhstan to a Ukrainian parent and a Russian parent—came to Northrop for the 2022-23 school year through U.S. State Department’s Future Leaders Exchange, a program that provides scholarships to European and Eurasian high school students to study in America. She will return to her homeland on May 21.

“Before coming to an American high school, I didn’t set any expectations, because I wanted to see where life would take me,” she beams. “I’d say being a Northrop Bruin means being always welcoming, no matter what language you speak or what country you’re from.”

Like Yana, most of the girls’ tennis experience is minimal, with some picking up a racket for the first time at Northrop’s tryouts. Krahn admits he’s often introducing the basics of tennis, but notices the life lessons that the girls are learning along the way.

“We get to learn from one another,” says senior Jovana Ibisevic. “We get to experience cultures from our friends; and know how to respect one another.” Jovana was born in Serbia to a Serbian father and a Bosnian mother. The family moved to the United States when Jovana was 9.

Academics are a big part of the Northrop girls tennis team, as well. Three seniors sit in the Top 10 of the Bruin Class of 2023 set to graduate in a few weeks. Senior Eenroi Mon—born in the United States to Mon parents from Myanmar—was Northrop’s recipient of this year’s Sertoma Award, which honors academics, athletics, and community involvement.

The Lady Bruins are also active in a variety of other extracurricular activities across Northrop, including choir, dance, basketball and soccer.

“The light shines brightly on them and at Northrop just because of what wonderful young women they are, and what they mean for the school,” Krahn adds.

Northrop is one of 31 high schools that partner with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, PSM Performance strength & conditioning classes, nutrition, athletic rehab and other sports medicine services for Bruin athletes. Learn more at


written & produced by Eric Dutkiewicz

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