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West Ranch's Ana Cecilia Fuentes: A surge of power

Big things could be in store this season for West Ranch junior — and she can feel it

Posted: September 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch junior Ana Cecilia Fuentes is the team’s No. 1 singles player this season, and she has her sights set on dethroning Valencia and leading the Wildcats to an outright Foothill League title.

This is her year.

The year, West Ranch’s Ana Cecilia Fuentes no longer has her older sister to carry the pressure of being the No. 1 player on the West Ranch girls tennis squad.

Last season, her sister Ana Lucia was the No. 1 singles player and led the Wildcats to a co-Foothill League title. She was also the runner-up at the league’s individual singles tournament.

Now, Ana Lucia has graduated, and in 2011 Ana Cecilia is ready to pick up where her sister left off.

“It feels great,” she says. “It feels like a surge of power.”

And that confidence should come as no surprise.

The junior isn’t content with being just another 15-year-old on the Stevenson Ranch campus. She’s always insisting on standing out — on the tennis court, in the classroom and in life.

Ana Cecilia will guide the Wildcats into the 2011 Foothill League girls tennis season, as West Ranch hopes to win its first outright league title and end a decade of Valencia dominance.

She credits her personal coach, Federico Brown, with helping her develop her game and get to this point.

But while tennis is a top priority for her, it’s far from the only thing on her mind.

Ana Cecilia spends much of her free time at school working on the West Ranch Paw Print — the high school’s newspaper, of which she is the news editor.

She spends her weekends at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, where she volunteers, hoping to help others and gain valuable experience in her quest to one day become a nurse.

“It’s just what I want to do,” Ana Cecilia says. “I don’t only want to be a tennis player. I want to go into the medical field.”

And of course, she spends many of her days on the tennis court, whether playing in matches, practicing with the team or having fun in a friendly match with her sister.

Ana Cecilia may be the only Fuentes sister on the team this year, but that doesn’t mean she’s done learning from her older sister, which she’s always thankful for.

“She means a lot,” Ana Cecilia says. “She has always been there for me whenever I needed help with my school work. She always motivates me. She doesn’t let me slack off. She’s always right on top of me no matter what.”

It’s not all work and no play, though.

While Ana Cecilia is as serious as they come on the court, she’s as spontaneous as they come off it.

“With the team, she was always the one that kind of took the pressure off,” Ana Lucia says.

At a team Christmas party, Ana Cecilia was given a blue lightsaber, the fictional weapon from the Star Wars trilogy. She thought it would be funny to give one to another teammate, and the joke kept spreading until most of the players ended up with one.

“We carry lightsabers every match and we fight after each match,” Ana Cecilia says.

It might sound odd to hear about a group of high school girls playing with plastic toys from Star Wars, but at West Ranch, it’s par for the course.

Ana Cecilia even tried to teach her teammates to juggle, something she learned years ago to help her hand-eye coordination.

Most of them never figured it out, she says, but the activity still provided an important break from the pressures of the task at hand.

“(Her attitude) is good, because you’re really uptight in matches and it’s really relaxing,” Ana Lucia says. “When I played, I looked to her to calm me down because it’s a lot of pressure to play on a team. She puts pressure on herself, but not on anyone else.”

But don’t let the carefree attitude fool you.

Ana Cecilia has goals, and she works relentlessly to achieve them.

“She’s very dedicated. When she does find something that she loves, she just does it,” Ana Lucia says. “No one has to do anything (to motivate her). She does everything on her own.”

And unfortunately for the rest of the Foothill League, this year her goal is to help West Ranch win the league title.

In doing so, you won’t find her criticizing her teammates, instead ready to lend words of encouragement.

You won’t find her making excuses, as she’s always her most relentless critic.

But what you will find is one of the Foothill League’s brightest stars, and a girl who will continue to shine both on the court and off it.

This is her year, and she hopes to take advantage.


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