BRADEN RIVER — More often than not, Marie Babayan is competing for herself.
As a USTA junior tennis player, the Braden River High senior doesn’t get to experience the camaraderie that comes from playing alongside your teammates, except for a few months in the spring, when she’s playing for the Lady Pirates.
But beginning this fall, Babayan will routinely find herself training alongside several other tennis players, as a member of the Coastal Carolina University women’s tennis team.
Babayan signed a national letter-of-intent Nov. 16, to play for the Chanticleers.
“It is definitely a relief and a lot of weight off of my shoulders,” Babayan says.
Babayan, who plans to major in exercise science, chose Coastal Carolina over Georgia Southern University.
“I loved the area and I felt like I really fit into the school environment,” Babayan says. “I also felt like I really connected with the team which is one of the most important things when picking a school to play for.
“I’m looking forward to competing with my team,” she says. “I enjoy having teammates, and it is a lot different from junior tennis, where you are competing on your own.”
Babayan won her second Class 3A-District 12 title last spring after going undefeated throughout the regular season. Babayan qualified for her second Class 3A state tournament and reached the semifinals of the individual singles division.
This spring, Babayan will look to defend her district title and advance further in the state tournament before preparing for the next step in her tennis career.
Contact Jen Blanco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.