Fuentes Hopes to Take Newfound Love of Tennis to Colgate
“Never compare yourself to anyone else besides who you were yesterday,” says Stephanie Fuentes ’14, who has lived by this motto since 2009 when she first developed an interest in competitive tennis. Fuentes will maintain this same outlook as a freshman trying out for the Colgate University women’s tennis team in the fall.
Prior to enrolling at Gill St. Bernard’s School, the thought of someday playing tennis at the Division I level never crossed Fuentes’ mind. Now 18, and with four years of experience under her belt, Fuentes says she could not imagine life without the sport. Transitioning from a fifth doubles player on the JV squad as a freshman to team captain and third singles player this past fall was no easy feat for Fuentes, who worked diligently to strengthen her baseline game and adopt a positive mindset despite the seasoned competition she met along the way.
To this day, her favorite GSB memory is leading the Knights to the 2013 NJSIAA Non-Public B South Sectional Championship. “Last year’s Sectional championship was a really close match that all came down to me,” says Fuentes, who used the advice of her coach as well as basic fundamentals of the game to clinch Gill’s final point and second straight Sectional title. “Tennis is just as mental as it is physical,” she adds. “There’s always upsets, but it’s where your head is that day—your confidence—that’s the biggest thing.”
Fuentes credits training and experience acquired both at Gill St. Bernard’s School and in United States Tennis Association (USTA) junior tournaments for influencing her to seek a spot on Colgate’s eight-member women’s tennis team. While confident she will find new family in the DI Raiders, Fuentes notes that no teammate could ever replace her sister, Jacqueline ’16, a second doubles partner in 2012. “Playing doubles together was definitely a challenge,” she says, “but I’m going to miss the invaluable bond we formed playing and practicing with one another.”
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.