Local hooked by Horns

Gaytan-Leach, who had played at Corona del Mar, give a verbal commitment for a full-ride scholarship to play at Texas.

August 07, 2009|By Steve Virgen

Cierra Gaytan-Leach’s dream of playing tennis on a full-ride scholarship for an NCAA Division I program recently came true.

The Corona del Mar High senior-to-be has verbally committed to play for the University of Texas in 2010.

Several schools, including Arizona State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Texas A&M, showed interested in Gaytan-Leach, who competed one year, as a sophomore, for the Sea Kings.

But Gaytan-Leach had always hoped for Texas. She says she loves country music. Now she can play it loud with the Longhorns.


Once they called with a full-ride scholarship offer, she jumped at it, she said.

“It’s such a relief,” she said. “When I got the call I couldn’t have been happier.”

Gaytan-Leach said she is aiming to win an NCAA championship in doubles for the Longhorns and is working extra hard in doubles.

She is ranked No. 415 in doubles in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings.

She is ranked No. 8 in Southern California in girls’ 18 mixed doubles, according to the USTA.

In 2006, as a sophomore, Gaytan-Leach earned All-Pacific Coast League first-team honors in tennis and golf.

Gaytan-Leach also helped lead Corona del Mar to a CIF Southern Section Division I championship.

She was home-schooled as a freshman and after competing in 2006, she decided to focus solely on tennis and playing the pro circuit.

This weekend, she’ll play in doubles in a hardcourt tournament in Berkeley.

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