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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on September 11th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 27

Claire Bouquette

BY TAMARA RAWSON


CLAIRE BOUQUETTE
PHOTO BY TAMARA RAWSON

She’s up with the sun to practice her game, and winding down the day with the warm-up drills that her coaches and team have nicknamed “Claire’s drills.”

Claire Bouquette, a sophomore at St. Joseph High School in Orcutt, is known as the top singles player. She said she became interested in tennis as she watched her parents play the game at the Santa Maria Country Club. She’s been playing since she was 8 years old—half of her life to date.

“She works very hard; if she is not practicing here, she is practicing somewhere else,” St. Joe’s tennis coach Julie Epps said.

Epps said Bouquette is every coach’s dream and that in 8th grade she was up at 8 a.m. to practice before school.

All that practice paid off: she wasn’t nervous for her first tournament.

“It’s just fun. My first season was a lot of fun,” Bouquette said.

Epps said the young tennis star motivates the entire team with her dedication and drive, and she’s always trying to do better.

Bouquette’s biggest competition is Arroyo Grande’s Sophie Widall, who Bouquette said is a lot of fun to play.

“[She] hits hard and has a good serve,” she said.

When she’s figuring out how to win in a match, Bouquette said she tries to watch the other athletes play so she can serve to their weaknesses.

The sophomore’s goal is to lead the team to CIF and to be team captain her senior year.

“Even as a freshman, Claire has been a great role model for our team. The girls look up to her and want to be better because of her,” Epps said, adding that Bouquette has gone to camps and receives additional coaching at the Santa Maria Country Club and the Avila Bay Club.

“She makes you smile when she walks in the room, she is great to be around,” Epps said. “She’s so humble. She watches and helps teammates.”