For Capo Valley High School junior Katie Ta, what started as a way to be more like her brother and sister has turned into a dedicated activity. Katie was just 10 when she started to tag along with her brother Matthew and sister Ashley to tennis matches and practices, and soon tagging along turned into championship tennis.
“I really liked the idea of playing the same sport as my brother and sister, thinking that maybe some day I could finally beat them (especially my brother). I didn’t like how they would never take me seriously because I was younger, so tennis became a place where I could even the playing field.” said Ta.
“Once she started winning, she just enjoyed playing more. She enjoyed that it is an individual sport where she can continue to improve on her own terms. It really helped her focus not only on the tennis court, but also in school – she saw first hand that hard work paid off, and she was getting positive results on the court,” said her mother, Gigi Le-Ta.
To win more matches and keep doing well in school, Ta had to buckle down.
“Though I am proud of my academic progress, I feel that some nights I could have spent studying were spent at practice or at tournaments. However, balancing tennis and school has really helped me learn to manage my time and priorities a lot better,” said Ta.
Katie spends up to four days of training a week at Woodbridge Tennis Academy in Irvine with her personal coach. And she taken five annual trips to nationals in Arizona over winter break. This type of commitment means that tennis is part of Katie’s life; not an addition.
To read the rest of this article, check out the Spring 2014 issue in High School Illustrated – South Orange County for iPad, completely free on the App Store.