CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Marian Catholic's Gaby Rosales would certainly like to improve on her sixth-place finish from a year ago at the Illinois High School Association state meet.
Between seasons, the Munster resident not only worked on her game, but her physical strength to make herself a better player. She spent the offseason working on improving her leg strength.
"Not being that tall (5-foot), I knew I had to get most of my strength from my legs," Rosales said. "I did a lot of running and some weights. I figured it would pay off in long matches if I had endurance.
"So far it has."
Rosales is 26-0 and was the singles champ at the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional. She also would like to win the state title, but she is taking it one match at a time as she competes in the state meet, which begins this morning in the northwest suburbs and goes through Saturday.
"I hope to do better, but I know there will be no easy matches," Rosales said. "I just want to get to the quarterfinals like I did last year. I just am going to go out there and play my match. That is all you can do. If I make a mistake, I move on. You can't let that get to you." "
Rosales lost in the quarterfinals, then finished second in the consolation bracket, which equals a sixth-place finish. Marian coach Scott Bodnar said he is optimistic that Rosales will be successful this weekend.
"I think she can improve on last year, but a lot depends on the draw," Bodnar said. "She has put in the time and plays with a lot of confidence."
Rosales has committed to the University of Richmond and she said that has eased the pressure.
"This season has been a lot of fun," Rosales said. "There is no pressure because I had my school picked. I went out and just played. I worked hard, but I have had a lot of fun this year playing tennis."
In April, Rosales received the USTA/Midwest Section's Helen Shockley Award. The honor recognizes the outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division female player for the highest standards of tennis accomplishments, character, conduct, sportsmanship and amateurism.