For the first time in 33 years, an HISD student is the UIL 6A state champion in girls tennis. Bellaire High School freshman Catherine Shen earned the title after winning district, regionals, and three state matches to advance and win the final round of the tournament.
Shen is only the second freshman to win the 6A state tournament and the first HISD freshman in history.
HISD Strategic Communications Specialist Travion Harmon met with Shen to discuss her athletic achievement and her plans for the future.
Q: How does it feel to be the UIL 6A Girls Tennis State Champion after winning at this year’s state tournament?
A: I’m very honored to be state champion. I’m surprised, but I’m also not surprised because I knew I was favored to win.
Q: Of those three state matches, which one would you say gave you the biggest challenge?
A: I would say my second match. It was against a friend from Austin Westlake, and it was a tough match because she’s a great player who’s also competed on the national level.
Q: When did you begin playing tennis, and was there anyone in your life who maybe inspired you to learn the sport?
A: I began playing when I was five years old, and my mom played a little bit of tennis in college. Tennis was her hobby, so she pretty much inspired me to play.
Q: Do you have any favorite professional tennis athletes that you look up to and do you aspire to play on the professional level eventually?
A: Ilove Iga Świątek. She has a similar game to me, and I dream of being ranked #1 on the professional level one day while I’m a teenager just like her.
Q: With three years remaining under your belt to play at Bellaire, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
A: I want to win state all four years throughout high school, and next year I hope to win mixed doubles with my brother.