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Tatiana Villa signs to continue tennis career

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Tatiana Villa signs her letter of intent to play at Oklahoma Baptist University on Monday at Goddard High School Front row, from left: Isreal Villa, father; Tatiana Villa and Clara Cisneros, mother. Back row, from left: tennis coaches Jerry Holm and Chad Mann. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

As an eighth-grader, Tatiana Villa began her high school tennis career by competing for a spot on the Goddard varsity team. It didn’t take long before she established herself as one of the district’s top players, eventually winning three district-doubles championships and twice advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Tatiana Villa gets ready to return a shot. (Jerry Holm Photo)

On Monday, Villa signed a national letter of intent to play tennis for Oklahoma Baptist University, a Division II school in Shawnee.

“I’m looking forward to playing another four years of competitive tennis,” said Villa. “I thought playing in college was something that only the top athletes did,” she said. “But over the course of my senior year, I developed confidence in my game and realized I wanted to continue playing the game I have come to love.”

Villa has established a reputation in District 4-4A as a skilled player who competes with the best and always has a smile on her face. But her smile, genuine as it is, doesn’t keep her from winning matches. She compiled a 9-2 record her senior year in singles, and a 12-1 record in doubles where she teamed with Lizzy Latimer, her partner for all four years of high school.

“I enjoy playing doubles because of the strategy needed to win,” said Villa. “Lizzy is my best friend on the court as well as off of it. There’s a chemistry there that helps us flow. I know I can trust Lizzy during a match. We don’t have to talk to each other about what we are going to do on the court; it just comes naturally from playing together for so long.”

Villa says she is both excited and nervous about playing tennis at the next level. “I know the environment is going to be a lot different, but the challenge will make it all worthwhile,” she said.

Villa also lettered three years in volleyball. Her teams advanced to the state finals in two of the last three years.

She is in the top 10% of her class with a 4.0 GPA and was student-body vice president her senior year.