Two members of UCLA women’s tennis have become national champions even before stepping on a collegiate court.
Incoming freshmen Ena Shibahara and Jada Hart teamed up this past week and won the 18’s girls’ doubles title at the USTA National Championships held in San Diego. The fifth-seeded pair lost just one set in their six contests and clinched the tournament with a 6-1, 6-4 win over ninth-seeded Meible Chi and Taylor Russo Sunday.
With the victory, Hart and Shibahara secured a spot in this year’s U.S. Open Championships, which will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 11. They will not know their opponents in the women’s doubles main draw until the week of August 29.
Both players were blue chip recruits and premier pieces of last season’s recruiting class. Each boasted a top-10 ranking in the USTA last season, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
The recent high school graduates will replace two of UCLA’s most esteemed tennis players from the past decade in Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips. Together, along with the young, experienced players already on UCLA’s roster, women’s tennis will attempt to regain its status as a powerhouse after last year’s substandard year.