Athlete of the Month: Katelyn Hojeibane

photo: Caroline Smith

photo: Caroline Smith

Katelyn Hojeibane started playing tennis in third grade after being introduced to the sport by her father. This season, Hojeibane was a co-captain for the varsity tennis team at PHS along with Zhenia Dementyeva ’15 and Rory Lewis ’15.

One of Hojeibane’s favorite parts of playing tennis is being able to spend time with the tight-knit group of people that she has played with for such a long time. “When you start that young, the people you start with you usually continue with, and you make a good group of friends that you get to see every week. It’s just so much fun to grow up being part of the tennis community,” Hojeibane said.

Before high school, Hojeibane played other sports such as basketball and soccer, but discovered that tennis was her true passion. Upon entering high school, she started as a JV player and moved up to varsity when she was a sophomore. She now plays second singles.

“Tennis is so welcoming, and everyone was so nice. As the years go on, the team gets closer and closer. All the girls just became … family,” Hojeibane said.

Being on the high school team not only brings friendships but also teaches her to keep a positive attitude and to push herself.

“I’ve wanted to stop playing if I lost a match, … I’ve wanted to give up. My dad would always talk to me … and get me back to where I was before,” Hojeibane said. Her father, who also coaches her two brothers, constantly encourages her to challenge her limits. “He tries to get us to be our best, … [and] that just motivates me to be the best player that I can be.”

Head Coach Sarah Hibbert thinks that Hojeibane has improved in her confidence and mentality since she first joined the team. “She has been able to put the negativity aside, [and] come back if she doesn’t start off well and win tough matches,” Hibbert said.

Aside from allowing Hojeibane to learn to maintain a positive attitude and persevere through setbacks, Hojeibane said that tennis also taught her to always stay respectful toward her peers.

“I think Katelyn is a great leader. She’s very team-oriented [and] does a great job getting everyone together. She worked really hard on court to get ready for the season,” Hibbert said.

Together with Dementyeva and Lewis, Hojeibane led the team to win its first Mercer County Tournament title in 30 years this season and its fourth consecutive sectional championship. Hojeibane placed fourth in second singles in the Tournament this year, a change from her second place finish in third singles during the 2013 MCT.

During her free time, Hojeibane coaches elementary school students. “It’s really nice knowing that they will be the future generation of tennis,” she said.

To foster this future generation, Hojeibane plans to coach throughout college and continue to pursue her passion for tennis through the varsity team at The College of New Jersey.

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