Last season was a breakout year for Coronado tennis player Naomi Katz, earning Region 1-6A runner-up and state runner-up medals.
This season, the senior has set her sights on winning a Class 6A championship. Katz won the District 1-6A championship, then followed up with the Region 1-6A girls singles title last week.
On Tuesday at the Northside Tennis Center in San Antonio, she’ll begin her quest for the state title in the two-day event.
“I have no pressure, I’m having a great time out there and just trying to play the best tennis I can,” said Katz, who is a Georgetown signee. “I feel relaxed headed to state. I played well at regionals and just want to keep improving on what I do.”
Katz seeks to become the first girls state champion from Coronado since 1993 when Christina Cararis won a Class 5A title for the Thunderbirds. Katz will face Tara Ahmadi of Houston Memorial in the quarterfinal round.
“To have the chance to go back to state is special,” Katz said. “Winning the regional championship was great and means a lot. I want to represent my school, my family, my community to the best of my ability.”
Katz will be joined in San Antonio by her teammate on the boys side, Ian Uraga.
Uraga, a sophomore, won the District 1-6A boys singles title and was the Region 1-6A runner-up last week to earn his first trip to state.
“I feel like I’m playing good tennis right now and I feel like if I play good tennis, I’ll have a chance to do some great things at state,” Uraga said. “I’ve been playing tennis for a long time and I feel confident going to state. I’m looking forward to the experience and continuing to build on the success of this season. I have confidence I can compete at a high level.”
Uraga will face Cal Riggs of Conroe The Woodlands in Tuesday’s first match. Uraga is seeking to become the first Coronado boys tennis player to win state since 2015 when Nathan Brown won it all.
“It’s exciting to see both Naomi and Ian get to state,” Thunderbirds coach Steve Olivas said. “Both Naomi and Ian have worked hard and been focused. I’m really proud of them. It’ll be a challenge as always at state, everyone is talented at this level and Ian and Naomi will have to earn it. But they are hard working kids and they’ve shown a great deal of determination this year. Naomi winning the regional title was a great feat, I’d love to see her finish her high school career with a state championship. “
Fort Hancock doubles team heads to state
In Class 2A, the Fort Hancock doubles team of Brianna Estrada and Julissa Herrera are headed back to state for the second straight year.
The duo will play their first match on Tuesday against Lucy Rochat and Kinsley Jordan of Mason.
Estrada and Herrera won the regional championship to advance to state. As juniors, they were regional runner-ups.
“Our communication has been key all season and as a double team you have to have great team work,” Estrada said. “It’s great to be back to state. Our goal is to win it this year.”
Added Herrera: “Making state last year was a confidence booster for us. We learned a lot from going to state last year and I think that will help us. Winning a regional championship was great for us and it showed how far we’ve come during our career. ”
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Felix F. Chavez may be reached at 915-546-6167; firstname.lastname@example.org; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter.