Ranked number one at Highlands Ranch for girls tennis and being only a freshman, Audrey O’Rear is a player to watch, according to her coaches. Her current record is 6-0 for her high school season and she ranked 9th in state.
O’Rear’s tennis career began in third grade. She went to a tennis camp and immediately fell in love with the game. “I did basketball too, but I eventually quit because I loved tennis,” said O’Rear. She continued lessons as a singles tennis player.
She grew up in Oklahoma, and she moved to Colorado in the middle of eighth grade. “It was definitely a move I had to adjust to. The altitude changed how the ball bounced, so I had to hit the ball different,” O’Rear said. The altitude was not the only thing she had to get used to. According to her, the competition in Colorado is more of challenge. According to O’Rear, there are more girls playing tennis and they are all stronger compared to who she faced in Oklahoma.
The challenge is something O’Rear overcomes. “My favorite part about tennis is winning,” she said while smiling. “I work really hard. Tennis is really expensive, so I put in a lot of effort to make it worth the money.” This hard work is evident through the nine hours a week she puts in training.
“It is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” said O’Rear regarding her tennis matches. She explains how her coach, Kelli Page, takes her aside when she is having a bad day: “‘Take a moment and take a breath’ my coach tells me.”
Dedicated, hard working and humble are all words Page uses to describe O’Rear. Although she comes off quiet, her strength on the court is not something to be overlooked. “Audrey is a very quiet young lady, very humble on and off the courts,” said Page.
According to the tennis team, O’Rear is extremely respected. “Audrey is kind of an icon,” said Melanie Carpenter, JV sophomore. “She has never lost a game. I remember when we played Vista and everyone lost except Audrey.”
Grace Burkes, varsity sophomore, said, “Audrey is a really cool player to watch. She has so much power in each shot.”
Coach Page has kindled Audrey’s talent since she stepped on the court this season. “Watching her hit for the first time was simply amazing. She has a natural talent for tennis and loves being on the court. She is very easy to talk to, and very coachable, which is probably why she has grown so much as a player over the last few years,” said Page.
O’Rear has big dreams for her future. “I want to play in college and maybe even coach a little,” she said. O’Rear is interested in Pepperdine and Oklahoma’s tennis program for her future.
“Audrey is an amazing athlete, and really, the sky’s the limit for her,” said Page.
Noelle Harff, Staff Reporter