Though she seems like a typical LCHS student, Sophie Mckenzie (11) is a stellar tennis player who is extremely accomplished in her tennis career. Just recently, Sophie, who has been playing tennis since she was five years old, won first in singles at the Rio Hondo League tournament.
Playing effectively on the court and wearing out her opponents with a series of consistent and aggressive ground strokes, the La Cañada High junior singles player achieved her goal of winning first for individuals on Thursday, October 26.
Sophie received a bye before facing South Pasadena’s Deanna Als in the second round. This meant that she got an automatic advancement to the next round in a tournament. In that match, Sophie triumphed over Deanna with a score of 8-2. She then earned advancement to the following day’s semifinal round at noon versus Katie Kerkendall (10) of San Marino, recording a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal victory. During the final match, Sophie sailed to a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Libby Chang (12) of San Marino to secure the Rio Hondo League singles title at the Arcadia Tennis Center.
“Sophie has gotten so much better,” commented La Cañada Tennis coach Will Moravec, whose team finished second in league. “She went out there and controlled things. She played hard and won fast. She used all of the court and did a very good job on her drop shots.”
When asked about winning the tournament, Sophie replied, “Winning makes all of it worth it. I mean, I have to go out and practice four hours everyday, and I’ve done it for the past ten years.”
Because tennis is such a demanding sport, Sophie devotes a large portion of her time practicing after school, as well as playing on the weekends.
“Basically, right now in my junior year, all I do is study and play tennis. I don’t really go out on weekends because I’m always playing tournaments, and I don’t hang out with my friends after school because I’m practicing,” said Sophie.
This commitment to tennis requires serious discipline, showing Sophie’s love and dedication to the sport.
Sophie finished, “It’s a lot of sweat and tears and I’ve definitely sacrificed a lot for this, but in the end it’s worth it.”