Iliana Falcon: Stepping out on the court


Jasmyn Countee, Cougart editor

Iliana Falcon steps on the court with her eyes on the ball, mind on the win, a racket in her hand, her long blonde hair flowing down her back in a French braid, and her determination to beat out her opponent.

Sahuaro tennis player, Iliana, won her 3 matches against Jasmine Trejo to become the #1 varsity player on February 17. She will play on varsity ranked at #1 throughout the season. Every time Iliana has a match, she will play the other teams #1 player.

Tennis consists of 3 matches and Iliana won 2-1 against Trejo. The first set Trejo won 4-10 and the last two Iliana defeated her with 10-6 the second round, and the third round as well.

Falcon is a great contribution to the team; she has been dedicated to the team since her freshman year. She ranked #6 her freshman year, #2 her sophomore year and now she plays as #1 her junior year. Falcon is officially the captain of the whole team, and she couldn’t do it without her coach, Skip Shepard. He has been dedicated to making her the player she now is today. He’s worked with her ever since her freshman year.

“He is more than a coach to the team. He’s like our dad too; he takes care of us like if we were his daughters. He’s also been coaching for 30 years and whoever he has coached, is fortunate,” Iliana proudly says. She also describes her coach as a caring, loving, and compassionate tennis player. He always jokes with her and calls her Rapunzel because of her extremely long blonde braided hair. They have a great relationship as a player and a coach.

One of her biggest obstacles she has faced is getting diagnosed with tendonitis. It hasn’t stopped her passion for tennis and she keeps playing through the pain. Her hard work is greatly recognized by many.

At seven years old, Iliana started playing the sport and hasn’t stopped since. She took private lessons, and went to Tennis camps and clubs to prepare for what she has accomplished now.

“I hate losing; it’s honestly the worst thing ever,” Iliana says.

One of her greatest accomplishments was going to State last year. “I know it sounds cocky, but I’m 100% sure I’m going to State this year too,” Iliana confidently says.

Qualifying to compete in State is great, but Iliana not only wants to compete, she wants to move up in her division level, and obviously she wants to win.

She and Coach Skip Shepard also have confidence that she and her entire team will qualify for State.

There are 30 people on the team, including Varsity and Junior varsity. Varsity only has 6 spots, so that leaves about 24 spots on the JV team.

As #1, Iliana hopes to inspire her other team members and help them become better players. She says she will never push any of them too hard because she wouldn’t want anyone in her family to get injured.

March 1st of 2016 is their first game of the year. It’s against Salpointe and it’s a home game! So make sure to support Iliana in her 1 st game of the season.