Isabella Tejeda began her youth sports journey as a soccer player, but when she was six years old, she found a love for tennis and transitioned from the pitch to the court.
“It was because of my dad,” says Tejeda of her start in tennis. “He loved to watch tennis. He never played, but he wanted to be a coach. I started playing when I was six…and I’ve been playing ever since. It’s been an amazing journey so far.”
The three-year varsity player and rising senior at Rosary Academy is a singles player for the Royals and finds joy in the community of a mostly individual sport.
“We are always on a team, and you get to know your opponent,” says the 17-year-old. “The love for the sport comes from how long you’ve been playing, and since I’ve been playing for more than half my life, it’s been a great experience.”
Tejeda knows that players from a smaller all-girls school such as Rosary can sometimes be underestimated, so she loves to step out onto the court and prove the doubters wrong. With that, comes the challenge of managing the emotional ups and downs of competition.
“When you’re playing singles and you’re alone, if you make one mistake, depending on who you are, it can crush you,” says Tejeda. “I’ve had to deal with that, and it can be hard. But praying before, it really helps me get through a match.”
As the Yorba Linda resident approaches her final high school season this fall, Rosary head tennis coach Debbie Simonton continues to be impressed with Tejeda’s performance, not only on the court, but also in the classroom and the community.
“Isabella has evolved into a tenacious powerful singles player that attacks every match with confidence and a will to win,” says Simonton. “I never count her out of any set, as she has the ability to dig deep and come back, even if she is late into a match. She has grown both as a player and a young lady, and she has been a pleasure to coach. Her senior leadership and positive energy will be key to our team’s success this season.”
Her commitment to the community is seen through her Girl Scout Gold Award project called “Read a Story, Change a Life.” In partnership with Higher Ground Youth & Family Services, the literacy program inspires elementary students to become lifelong readers.
Tejeda’s future plans include becoming a pediatrician alongside continuing to play the sport she loves. She is grateful for her parents and the support of the many coaches along her tennis journey. Her faith has provided a foundation for growth and confidence.
“Before each match, I know that I have God with me,” says Tejeda. “It’s helped me get through everything that we’ve done, because even in the tough times, I’ve always had him with me.”