Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Lujan is just the right fit for the Roadrunners

Aaron Valdez, Staff Writer

The Rio Hondo tennis team’s Mindy Lujan proves to be a stellar performer on the court and in the classroom.

A Whittier native, Lujan was eager to be attending Rio Hondo College after hearing the praise it received from her two older siblings. Her family in general has always been supportive of her by attending all her matches whether she is playing or not and pushing her to do her best in school.

According to Lujan, it is her mother who has served as the biggest influence. Not only did her mother mold her into a “fighter”, but she also taught Lujan to appreciate all the finer things life has to offer.

A graduate from La Serna High School, the 21-year-old had never even picked up a tennis racket until she came to Rio Hondo where she enrolled in a tennis class. Feeling confident in her ability, Lujan talked to tennis head coach Karen Unger about joining the official team where Unger was more than glad to invite Lujan to try-outs.

Since fall of 2013, Coach Unger noticed Lujan to be an early bloomer picking up all the fundamentals very quickly. With each passing day, her hard work and confidence on the court became more and more prominent.

Compared to last season, Lujan has shown vast improvement where she started as just an alternate but has since cemented herself in regular spot on the team. She credits the supportive and understanding nature of Coach Unger for developing her into a skilled and polished player.

Aside from being the tallest player on the team, Lujan never fails to bring a sense of leadership in order to motivate the rest of her teammates. Although she is not technically captain, she is definitely the loudest making sure she is everyone’s biggest supporter. These special qualities are what makes her so valuable to this squad.

One of the biggest challenges Lujan has come across is learning how to play doubles. Unlike singles, doubles requires players to communicate with their partner and work as a team. However, this experience has made her into a more complete player due to the fact the she has to work off her partner’s mistake and vice versa.

“You can’t get mad at each other you have to be positive,” Lujan explained. “If one of you starts doing bad then you both start doing bad.”

The way Lujan handles herself on the court is very similar to how she is off the court. As a player, she sees herself as very poised and confident even though she is somewhat a beginner. She understands the challenge is what drives her to become not only a better player, but a better person as well.

In her time away from tennis, Lujan still enjoys playing tennis along with indoor and outdoor soccer. She also likes to spend quality time with her beloved family and friends. Lujan favorite athlete is none other than the great Serena Williams.

Although the season has come to a close, Lujan is really proud of her team for placing fifth in an extremely tough South Coast Conference which holds some of the best squads in California.

“I love my team,” said Lujan, “We all get along with each other so well, which is better than any other team I’ve ever been on.”

Lujan’s aspirations include transferring to a four-year university after the spring semester. Her dream is to attend UCLA and major in Political Science but is still anxiously awaiting the school’s response. As far as her competitive tennis career, Lujan feels it would be best to hang up the boots so she can focus on her studies but is open to playing both tennis and soccer recreationally.

So far Lujan has received acceptances from California State, Los Angeles, California State, Fullerton, California State, Long Beach, and University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently waiting for the responses from University of California, Irvine, University of California Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley.

 

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Lujan is just the right fit for the Roadrunners