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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
The Register's first-team All-County team, from left: Coach Mark Spearman (Dana Hills), Allison Radde (Troy), Stephanie Hui (Troy), Victoria Wing (Dana Hills), Kristina Smith (Dana Hills), Brynn Boren (Dana Hills), Joanna Smith (Dana Hills), Kaitlyn Christian (Orange Lutheran), Megan Heneghan (Beckman), Krista Hardebeck (El Modena), Leyla Simmons (Dana Hills), and Coach Jim Wilson (Dana Hills).

The 2008 All-County girls tennis team

The 2008 All-County girls tennis team

OCVarsity.com

Kaitlyn Christian finished one match short of the ultimate prize, losing in the CIF-SS singles championship final.

It was the Orange Lutheran junior and Trinity League champ's first loss of the season. She also played in every team match for the Lancers, which isn't always the case for top-ranked junior players.

For her accomplishments, she has been selected the Register's Girls Tennis Player of the Year for 2008.

"This year was great," Christian said. "The team got a lot better and I accomplished a lot. It was a lot of fun."

As a sophomore, Christian lost in the CIF individual semifinals to Lakewood's Stacey Tan in straight sets. Tan, who was seeded second, was her semifinal opponent again this year.

Christian, the third seed, looked forward to the rematch and the opportunity to avenge last year's loss. However, Christian lost the first set, putting her on the verge of being eliminated.

"I just told her to stay calm and stay positive," Lancers coach Mai-ly Tran said. "She was scrapping. It was an unbelievable match."

Christian, displaying her trademark athleticism and competitiveness, rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the final.

"I'm fast and I use that to my advantage," she said. "I never give up. I'm competitive by nature. I'm hungry to win."

Christian mixed the pace of her shots to disrupt Tan, whose power game thrives on using the speed of her opponent's shots. Christian's defensive ability allowed her to chase down many shots, extending the points as much she could.

"She's a fighter," Christian's mother, Rose, said. "She's shown her athletic ability since she was young."

Christian grew up playing soccer and tennis. She decided on tennis, but has a hard time explaining why.

"I liked soccer better," Christian said. "There was this park outside my house and I watched this tennis tournament there when I was young. I wanted to get serious about one sport."

She began playing tennis tournaments when she was 8. By the time she hit the 12's and under, she was getting solid results.

"I was No. 1 in the national rankings when I was 14," Christian said. "From there on, I have always been in the top of the rankings."

Christian was born and raised in Orange. She is an only child and said she still likes to play soccer when she can. She also enjoys running, going to the movies and listening to music.

As for school, she likes math right now, "but I'm not sure about college. Maybe business, or maybe something to do with sports."

Contact the writer: ctobolski@ocregister.com


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