by Justin Martinez | sports writer
As a young school, Johnson has already established their sports programs. Over the past few years, the Jags have sent athletes to regionals, area, and even state.
Among the most recent sports achievements for the Jags is the performance of freshman tennis player Chuyang Guan. In her first year, Guan managed to not only make it to state, but place in first.
“It still hasn’t fully sunk in for me to realize exactly what I managed to do,” Guan said. “I always knew that I was capable of being good, but to actually win state is an honor and I can’t wait to come back and compete again next year. I still have three more years to compete and I plan on working really hard during this offseason.”
Another Johnson player that’s made her mark early in their high school career is sophomore golfer Taylor Coleman. Already, as a sophomore, Taylor has competed with the best female golfers in the world by qualifying for the LPGA Texas Shootout.
“It’s just so amazing to be able to not only see, but compete with these athletes that I look up to. I’m so happy with how this season turned out for me. Next year I plan on keeping up the good work and being a competitor again. Playing at the Texas Shootout was an inspiring experience for me and it’s motivated me to do just as well next year. It’s everything that I could have ever hoped for and more,” Coleman said.
In addition to these athletes, sophomore Paula Gutierrez-Rodriguez and senior Flo Bigatti reached the state tennis tournament this season. As a doubles team, Rodriguez and Bigatti fought, but bowed out of the tournament early with a loss in the quarter-finals.
“It felt good to accomplish my goals and now I know that I can compete at a high level next year,” Rodriguez said. “We worked for 2 hours in the mornings and had practice after school so we put in a lot of effort. I set high goals for myself this year because I knew that I could have done a lot better last year. I was really disappointed with last year’s season and I didn’t want to fall short of my goals for two years straight.”
Although the duo didn’t win the tournament, making state is still an accomplishment that only elite players are able to achieve. To be able to qualify for state is a testament to the hard work put in during practice.
“To know that I was able to compete with the best people in all of Texas is worth the long hours on the courts and having to stay behind when practice was over so that I could work even more on my game,” Bigatti said. “This was my last year and I’m glad that I was able to end it the way that I did. I had a great teammate this season and I’m proud to say that I played for Johnson during my four years of high school.”
As a coach, it’s never easy to see a four year player graduate and leave the team after being so accustomed to seeing them every day at practice.
“Here at Johnson out team is really like a family,” tennis coach Sean Reno said. “We care for each other and we’re gonna miss Flo when she graduates this year. I’m proud of her and the rest of the team’s accomplishments this season. Hopefully, next year’s team will be just as good, if not better.”