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Spaniard finds family among teammates

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BREE ORTEGA
Staff Writer

For junior women’s tennis player Marina Vicens Miquel, the sport has always been her lifelong passion.

She has focused on playing the sport she loves while getting a degree that can help her succeed in life. Miquel was born in Mallorca, Spain where she also grew up and discovered her love for tennis. She attended high school at IES Centre de Tonificacion Esportiva de les IB in Spain.

“In Spain we don’t have college tennis,” Miquel said. “When I was 16, I started knowing about Spanish people coming to America and they explained to me their experiences.”

Miquel said all of her friends wanted to play tennis growing up so she began to learn how to play the sport at a very young age. She has been playing tennis since she was 5 years old, which has taught her to grow as a tennis player before she attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

When Miquel realized college tennis was what she wanted to do, she already knew the Island University was the right school for her. She said she chose the university because she knew she would improve greatly both academically and physically with a good program and competitive team. Miquel said she is majoring in computer science and minoring in mathematics.

In May, along with Miquel, the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi women’s tennis team was a recipient of the NCAA Public Recognition Award for ranking top 10 percent nationally for academic progress rate. NCAA President Mark Emmert was there to give them their letter of recognition.

This summer, Miquel was a part of winning nine matches leading into the Southland Conference Championships.

On Sept. 16, Miquel participated in the CrossFit Islander Open. She made her way to women’s singles finals with two victories. Miquel knocked off top players from UIW, Louisiana and UTSA to earn her way to the finals and had a 10-5 victory that led her to win the Islander Open Championship.

“We gave this girl a game plan of things to work on this summer and she obviously worked her tail off,” director of tennis Steve More said. “She improved like crazy and came in and won the tournament. You have to root for someone like Marina who is so driven and determined.”

In Spain, Miquel earned the top 94 Spanish ranking and was the sixth Spanish player in the Europe tennis ranking. She was also a finalist in Spain’s CCAA Championship at the age of 14 as she represented the Balearic Islands. She is currently a two-time champion in the Balearic Island’s Championship and four-time champion in Mallorca’s Championship.

“It’s important to work hard every day with purpose,” Miquel said. “You have to practice a lot with intensity and have a goal to be motivated to achieve your goals.”

Miquel said the team is very close to her like a family. They all care for each other which helps them win matches and tournaments.

Both men and women’s tennis seasons have already begun and games are always open to the public. Islander tennis fans can come out to support the team at Thomas J. Henry Tennis Center. For more information visit                                   goislanders.com.

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