Saxon Tennis Alum Lindsay Flood ’17 and Megan Edelblute ’18 returned for a home match to cheer on their former teammates and meet Richard Thies. As seniors, Flood and Edelblute garnered recognition on and off the court, receiving the Richard Thies Service Award for their dedication to increasing access to the sport of tennis.
Thies, from Urbana-Champaign Illinois, devoted much of his life to providing opportunities for aspiring players, both young and old, to play tennis. Most notably, Thies played a pivotal role on the Illinois Park District Board of Commissioners where he championed the funding of the City of Urbana’s only lighted tennis courts, housed at Blair Park in Urbana, IL. Throughout their existence, the courts have housed middle and high school teams, tournaments, and were even featured in David Foster Wallace’s writing. Thies’ belief was that as long as courts were available, anyone could grab a ball and racquet and be active. Outside tennis, Thies is probably best known among his peers for his service to the Illinois State Bar Association as a lawyer. He’s served as president of the state bar association and is a member of the University of Illinois Dean’s Club of the College of Law. Through his years in service, he’s been involved in the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club, the Urbana Association of Commerce, the citizens advisory board of the Urbana School Board, the Salvation Army advisory board, the Urbana Park Board, the Urban League, and the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana. He was in Salem with his wife of 65 years, Marilyn, visiting two of their 5 children, 6 of their 16 grandchildren, and 2 of their 6 great-grandchildren when he stopped by the match.
Edelblute is currently a sophomore at the University of Oregon where she studies Architectural Design. Flood, a freshman at Linfield College, is studying Nursing. In their time as Saxons, both played doubles with several partners and served as captains their senior year. Their influence helped build a new program for the Saxons, transitioning coaches and taking the program from 35 players to 63, 65% of which had never played tennis prior to this season.