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Riley McQuaid

Riley McQuaid
Riley McQuaid
Riley McQuaid

Junior Spotlight - Riley McQuaid

In her biggest moments on the tennis court, Riley McQuaid has always trusted her game and has been able to find a way to win when it counts the most.

But the 14-year-old Tustin resident McQuaid recently dished out a huge assist to her RAMP Academy coach Marc Lucero, who she says was able to help pull her out her first gold ball by way of winning the USTA Girls’ 14s Winternationals in Tucson, Ariz.

Playing in the final against the No. 5-seeded Anna Brylin, McQuaid came out unstoppable winning the first set 6-0. “I was playing out of my mind,” McQuaid said. “I got a little bit tight in the second set and she started playing better.”

After dropping the second set 6-3, Lucero sat the No. 3-seeded McQuaid down and told her she had worked too hard to let this one slip away.

“He said to just go out there and play your game because when I do that it always works out for me,” she said. “He told me to act like a pro, be calm and to have no drama and that no matter what happens I have to leave the court knowing I did everything I could and to have a great attitude doing it.”

She fell down 3-4 and 15-40 in that third set and said, “ ‘Alright, Riley, you can do this.’ So I stayed calm and just enjoyed the moment.”

She triumphed 6-4 in the third for the biggest win of her young career. It came at one of junior tennis’ top events and against a player whose father is three-time Stanley Cup hockey champion Sergei Brylin.

“It was something I have trained for every day, six hours a day, so for me to actually win it was really unreal and a great accomplishment,” McQuaid said.

McQuaid is a freshman at Pacific Coast High School, an alternative high school that allows her to attend just three days a week.

She enjoys volunteering with the RAMP Academy teaching tennis to students at Leapwood Elementary in Carson. “It’s neat to see these kids who have never seen tennis before get so excited,” she said. “They are literally jumping around with excitement. When we hit with them they really engage and they really love it.”

McQuaid knows she has time, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. “Ideally I would like to go pro and I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently,” she said. “Do I want to go to college? Or would I rather turn pro? It’s definitely something I need to start thinking about.”

McQuaid has lots of interests, including reading. “I’m not a tennis addict,” she said. “I have a little bit of a life outside of tennis. It’s a lot of tennis and school and tennis and school. But I do have a little bit of a social life, and I like to read and journal when I have free time.”

McQuaid said she plans to play up in the 16s at the upcoming big ITF events in Carson and at the ASICS Easter Bowl.



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