In her Glory Days: Katie Conley

Ingrid Chan , Staff Writer

Math teacher Katie Conley’s future in competitive tennis was determined the moment her uncle introduced the sport to her parents. Starting at the age of four, Conley would go on to join her high school team, compete in college, and plays the sport even now.

Coached by her uncle, Conley played actively throughout her elementary and middle school years. She stated that she had practiced for the enjoyment more than anything else, and has never once found it tedious or considered quitting.

In the eighth grade, Conley decided she wanted to take the sport seriously, joining the high school team the following year. Full of competitive spirit, she became involved in events such as United States Tennis Association tournaments where she participated in the junior category.

At Bonita High School, Conley joined the tennis team.  She was on the varsity team all four years, and held the position of captain for two years before graduating.

But tennis wasn’t the only sport Conley was enthusiastic about during her time in high school.  She was just as dedicated to basketball as she was to tennis, having played basketball from seventh to 12th grade.

Though she began in junior varsity as a freshman, she became a part of the varsity team during her junior  and senior years, as a shooting guard.

Besides basketball and tennis, Conley did dabble in other sports like track, but they never lasted as long as her two favorites.

“I only ran track for one year.  I really enjoyed it, but it was taking practice time away from tennis, so I decided to stop after my freshman year to play tennis,” Conley said.  “I had a pretty good idea at that point that I wanted to continue playing tennis in college.”

Conley majored in math during her time at UC Santa Cruz, but continued to play competitive tennis.

Though Conley knew that she wouldn’t pursue a professional athletic career from the very start, stating that academics had always been number one, she went on to play as a Division III player, normally practicing around four to five hours a day during her time at the university.

“As a Division III player, I could play tennis and still get to travel, doing all kinds of things,” Conley said.

Nowadays, she still occasionally competes in USTA tournaments for adults and also intends to introduce her son to the sport in the future.

“If he enjoys it like I did, I’m all for encouraging him to play tennis, or any other sport,” Conley said.