Jenya Zurita

Jenya Zurita (Jenya Zurita/Submitted)

When I started talking to Canyon Del Oro junior tennis player Jenya Zurita, I asked her some of the basic questions and she kept getting the answers wrong. She takes the good-natured ribbing in stride and laughs along as we continue.

What’s your favorite subject? “English.” (Wrong! The answer is always math.)

In English, what do you prefer, reading or writing? “I think I like them both equally.” (Wrong! That’s like asking a parent which of the kids he/she likes the most. They will say that they love all of the kids equally, but we know…)

So, who’s your favorite writer? “I like them all.” Edgar Allan Poe? “No, I don’t like him.” (Wrong, wrong, wrongedy-wrong wrong!)

However, when I asked her the most-important question, she absolutely nailed the answer.

At the time of the interview, her Dorado team sat at a lofty No. 9 in the power point rankings with a record of 8-1 (the lone loss coming to division 3 tennis factory Pusch Ridge). The next day was the biggest match of the year, as her Dorados faced Catalina Foothills.

To the casual observer, it probably seems that, when it comes to so-called Olympic sports (tennis, swimming, golf), teams from Catalina Foothills High School have won something like 8,000 state championships in the past couple decades. Of course, that’s ridiculous; the actual tally is probably not even half that number.

What can be quantified is the eye-popping excellence of the Foothills program. Since 2014 (not counting the truncated pandemic year of 2020), the Foothills’ girls teams have a combined regular-season record of 105-1. (For the morbidly curious, the one loss was an 8-1 thrashing in 2019 to D-1 power Desert Mountain. Foothills still won the D-2 state championship.)

Anyway, when discussing the upcoming match with Foothills, Zurita was asked what one word came to mind describing how she was feeling. It would have been understandable had she said “anxious” or “nervous.” She would have even been given a pass had she said “scared.” But her response — quickly and forcefully — was “eager.”

She added, “We want to put up a fight. If you want to try to be the best, you have to play the best. I’m really looking forward to it.” (Right!)

Foothills won, 8-1, but there were some good signs. The Dorados are young; besides Zurita, the varsity is four sophomores and a freshman. (Foothills had two seniors.) Also, CDO won one of the three doubles matches, and lost the other two by scores of 8-6 and (in Zurita’s match) 9-7.

Her team will almost certainly make it to the state team tournament, and one or two of her teammates should compete in the separate State individual playoffs.

Zurita will continue working on her game, something she does year-round. She has a private coach, but she also finds time to coach others.

“We rent the courts at Green Fields, and I help give private lessons. I really enjoy it.”

Maybe we could do a mashup of her answers and ask if she likes the writer “Eager” Allan Poe?

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.