2011-11-11 / Sports

Planets align perfectly for Spartan tennis tandem

By Eliav Appelbaum


OUT OF THIS WORLD—Rio Mesa High tennis standouts Audrey Mayer, left, and Jenna Dobrin faced off in the Pacific View League singles final. Mayer won the title. 
RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers OUT OF THIS WORLD—Rio Mesa High tennis standouts Audrey Mayer, left, and Jenna Dobrin faced off in the Pacific View League singles final. Mayer won the title. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers Jenna Dobrin and Audrey Mayer form a dynamic one-two punch for the Rio Mesa High girls’ tennis team.

They’re both honors students with sisters on the varsity team.

It’s just coincidence that they have the same pink shoes.

Dobrin, a senior captain, is an exuberant, positive leader with a radiant smile.

The sophomore Mayer is a rising star who won the Pacific View League singles championship last week against—you guessed it—Dobrin in the finals.

“They both have sparkling personalities,” head coach Steve Worthington said, “and they’re both a joy to be around.”

The duo helped the Spartans complete the regular season undefeated at 19-0 overall and 10-0 in league.

Dobrin is the “face of Rio Mesa tennis,” the coach said.

A four-year varsity standout with a 4.4 grade-point average, Dobrin has been a quiet star on the Spartan campus.

Entering Thursday’s CIFSouthern Section Division 3 team playoff opener, Dobrin was 38-3 in singles action this season.

For her varsity career, she’s gone 80-10 in singles and 94-12 in doubles bouts. She went 51-5 in doubles with Claire Willey as a sophomore, helping Rio Mesa reach the Division 4 crown.

The numbers are impressive, but they reveal only a fraction of her story.

“Jenna is so unassuming,” Worthington said. “She does not seek the limelight. It’s not about ‘me’ with her. It’s about the team. She has great parents, a great sister and a great family. She has so many positive attributes that will be cornerstones for her life.

“There’s Jenna the leader. There’s Jenna the tennis athlete. I’m going to miss, above all, the quality person that Jenna represents. She’s the kind of person everyone, including myself, look up to. . . . I’m going to miss her.”

The tall lefty has enjoyed her final season with the Spartans.

“Our team definitely came together this year,” Dobrin said. “We have really good chemistry. We’re winning as a team and playing well together.”

The senior, 17, has shared her experiences with her teammates, showing them the ropes while being supportive the entire time.

Spartan players appreciate their captain.

“She’s definitely the leader of our team,” Mayer said. “When I’m a senior, I hope to be like her.”

On the court, Dobrin has finetuned her forehand while being more patient attacking foes, waitfreshman ing for the right moment to smash a winning shot.

Dobrin, who started playing tennis at age 8, spent this offseason teaching clinics for youngsters 4-14 at Las Posas Country Club.

“I love tennis and I love kids,” she said. “Seeing them improve was such a cool experience.”

It’s no coincidence that Dobrin wants to be a pediatrician. She’s leaning toward playing tennis and studying psychology at Whitman College in Washington.

The daughter of Lori and Joel, Dobrin also has the joy of playing with her sister, Rachel, a sophomore who suits up at doubles for the Spartan varsity squad.

Tennis has helped Dobrin in many ways, she said.

“You learn a lot about yourself,” the captain said. “You become stronger mentally and physically. I just love it.

“The four years I’ve had here with Coach Worthington and all the girls I’ve met is something so special. It helped shape who I am today.”

Mayer enjoyed a memorable regular season.

The super sophomore went 37-1 overall while tearing through all Pacific View competition.

“Audrey is wiser, stronger and more confident,” Worthington said. “She’s played extremely well.”

Like Dobrin, Mayer values time shared with teammates.

“This is a real solid team,” the 15-year-old said.

“It’s just great being with all the girls. Coming to practice after school is the best part of the day.”

The sophomore, who started playing tournament tennis when she was 8, said she’s working on controlling points and being more aggressive.

Mayer is one of the top students academically in her class.

She’s active in the California Scholarship Federation and the Adventure Club for students who enjoy hiking, rock climbing and other activities.

Mayer’s sister, Natalie, is a tennis standout. She has one brother, Hunter, 8, who plays tennis, golf and soccer. Her parents are Jennifer and Daniel, and her stepdad is Michael.

Other Spartans have stepped up on the court. Twins Jackie and Lexy Newberry, Elyza Baltazar and Krista Gerdts are senior standouts. Junior Serena Chow completes the lineup.

“Our whole team is great,” Mayer said.

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