Camila Wesbrooks: Lone Star Leader
Transitions can be one of the scariest parts of life — a trek through the unknown. The unknowns are sometimes within yourself, the true potential you might be able to unlock. Other times, the unknowns are challenges the world may confront you with, which you cannot control.
Being able to balance these two things, and move forward, is what Camila Wesbrooks has done. She has transitioned from being an underclassman with upperclassmen advisory that looked after her, to being one of the rocks the young Arizona women’s tennis team is going to lean on this season.
“It’s completely different because I have been so used to looking up to Devin [Chypyha] and Lauren [Marker], who were on the team last year. Now I’m kind of in their shoes, trying to set a good example for the younger girls,” Wesbrooks said.
As Wesbrooks settles into the new season, her responsibilities and the role she now assumes as an experienced veteran are going to be crucial for the Wildcats going forward. Wesbrooks isn’t all too worried about the pressure, though.
“I feel like I know what to expect now, since I’m a junior,” Wesbrooks said. “It’s kind of fun seeing the freshman start their first matches because you know what they are going through; you know they are feeling the nerves. I mean, I get nervous, but it’s more of an excitement. . .I am just really excited to continue to go out there this season and kill it. I’ve never had as much fun playing tennis.”
Even though her individual performances have stood out, like the clutch, game-clinching singles match that locked up the team win against the University of San Diego, Wesbrooks takes every match personally because she is playing for things much greater than herself.
“You aren’t playing for yourself at all; you’re playing for the team. It gives me much more motivation to win … which is just natural when you are playing for 10 girls on the team and the school. That’s way more important to me,” Wesbrooks said.
While the McKinney, Texas native’s surprise undefeated start to the season has propelled the Wildcats to an overall 5-0 early on, her tennis story is one that many could have predicted decades ago.
“Both of my parents played at [Louisiana State University]. Both sides of my family, everyone plays, so I would like to say I didn’t have a choice, but of course I had a choice. I just grew up playing; ever since I could walk, I was playing with them,” Wesbrooks said.
Choosing to play competitive tennis was an early and relatively easy choice for Wesbrooks as she started competing seriously at the age of 7. With her personal coach also happening to be her mother, there were always tennis lessons.
The tough lessons and intense coaching Wesbrooks received throughout her childhood paid major dividends. She excelled throughout her high school career.
“There was some tough times, but most of the time it was a lot of fun,” Wesbrooks said. “I feel like I really didn’t appreciate it until I was a junior or senior in high school. Before that, I was still maturing.”
Ranking as high as the 33rd best prospect in the nation and establishing herself as a five-star recruit, Wesbrooks naturally had offers from all over the country, including Ole Miss, Illinois and Texas Tech.
Eventually picking the University of Arizona, Wesbrooks instantly became one of the most heralded recruits Wildcat tennis has landed this decade, and she has handled all of the pressure and limelight with ease.
Through the tough times, and the eventual breakthroughs, through all of the transitions life has served her, Wesbrooks has never once looked back.
“I’m so grateful I play tennis. I have met some of the most amazing people through it; my best friends are all from tennis, and I have gotten to travel the world because of tennis. I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Wesbrooks said.
As Camila Wesbrooks anchors what appears to be a promising year for the Wildcats, her already impressive start is just a glimpse of what’s yet to come.
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