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Sheridan's Julia Fenn named Girls Tennis Player of the Year

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The finish line is a year from now, and has been since her freshman year. 

Sheridan junior Julia Fenn is one No. 1 singles title away from winning four in four years after sweeping Laramie's Lucia Cho 6-1, 6-1 in October's championship match.

Fenn has been named the 2014 Star-Tribune Girls Tennis Player of the Year for her efforts, and yet her sights are already set on next season. 

No Wyoming tennis player has ever ended their career as a four-time No. 1 singles champion, and Fenn intends to be the first. 

"Right after my match, people asked me if I was already thinking about next year, and I was like, 'Not yet!'" Fenn said. "But now I'm already thinking about my next game plan and how I want to get there to win."

Winning is no longer enough. The end result is all but inevitable when Fenn competes against her Wyoming counterparts, resulting in a commitment to develop her game with a reinforced supply of skills. 

After completing a challenge posed by Broncs coach Bob Faurot to practice 10,000 serves over the summer -- a task she completed by late July -- Fenn entered the season armed with a new agent in her arsenal. 

She was able to capitalize on her serve by adding speed and precision that allows her to place the ball wherever she pleases.

Adding new facets to her game ensures that she remains focused and avoids letdowns against lesser competition. Three-fourths of the way toward accomplishing her goal, Fenn isn't about to let up now. 

"Being unpredictable is the key in tennis," Fenn said. "The opponent doesn't ever know where I'm going -- or at least that's my goal -- and that helps mask what I'm trying to do. 

"With more power, I gain aggressiveness and I can take control of the point and ultimately win the match."

Fenn's improved serve also allows her to keep pace with competition from outside the state. Often practicing with Sheridan's boys team or adult males around the area, Fenn is committed to competing in tournaments throughout the region. 

Her goal is to someday compete for a Division I program, and Fenn knows that achieving that dream means playing competition other than her peers.

"Because she's aiming at a higher level, these matches probably aren't as pressurized," Faurot said. "I hesitate saying that because it's probably going to tick off a lot of her opponents and make them work harder."

But perhaps that's to be encouraged. Fenn's aspirations require playing against as much top-flight competition as possible. Match play during the offseason is her favorite time of the year and will be the key to her progression. 

Rather than just dominate with her serve, Fenn's next goal is to attain more power in her return of serve in order to remain aggressive and maintain her position on the attack. 

"It's all just a fast-paced game of chess," Fenn said. "In the moment, you have to make split-second decisions. It can be hard, but you have to do what you can."

No one has proved more adept at doing so in Wyoming than Fenn. As she embarks on one final offseason before her senior campaign, it will be up to the rest of the state to dethrone the three-time reigning champion. 

"I try to think about what I can do to help improve myself and what I can do to my opponent to expose their weaknesses," Fenn said. "There's always pressure, but it's not as noticeable. And I think pressure keeps me focused and on the top of my game."

Contact sports reporter Jeff Kirshman at 307-266-0615 or Follow him on Twitter @jeffkirshman.


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