MAMARONECK, N.Y. Competing with Jane Weisenberg on the tennis court might be more of a chess match, thanks to the Mamaroneck High School senior's study of five variables in the sport and how they have changed the game over the last 40 years.
Along with her partner, Josh Kanterman, Weisenberg, 17, compared statistics from 1970 to 2009 on those five variables: double faults (service strategy), length of matches, distribution of points (net play strategy), age of players and nationality of players.
"As a tennis player, I was especially interested in the sport, which gave me the extra piece of drive to do the project," Weisenberg said.
That motivation brought her two-member team to the 12th annual Westchester Science and Engineering Fair on March 10 at Sleepy Hollow High School, where they won second place in Mathematics.
"I was very exciting to win the award," said Weisenberg, one of 13 students overall to win 10 awards. "Although I didn't join the program to win awards or contests, it is definitely a nice side of the program."
Weisenberg and Kanterman's project is for the Original Science Research (OSR) program at Mamaroneck High School, a three-year elective headed by teacher Guido Garbarino.
"They basically identify areas of science they're interested in working in," Garbarino said. "They study it, they learn as much as they can about it, and then they conduct a project under the guidance of a professional scientist mentor who helps them to develop and carry out their work."
Although Weisenberg and Kanterman haven't found a mentor to work with, Garbarino has helped them along their journey, which didn't begin with tennis.
"Originally, I planned to study engineering, and I started to learn about ground surfaces," said Weisenberg, who added she joined OSR thinking she would do a project on medicine or health. "I then started to expand my research, and began to learn about tennis surfaces, which eventually took me to tennis strategy."
The Mamaroneck resident entered a similar project studying different variables in the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair last year. She won third place in the mathematics category, as well as the Mu Alpha Theta Award, which her team of two also won this year.
While the awards are an added bonus for Weisenberg, the experience and skills OSR has afforded her are the true rewards.
"It has allowed me to master skills learned in my previous classes writing, science and math as well as learn important new ones, like networking and presentation skills," she said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.