Sports Person of the Week
Ramos Helps Warriors Make First State Final After Taking Conference Crown
Ada Ramos helped the Valley girls’ tennis team have a historic season that featured the program’s first appearance in a state final. Ada and doubles partner Allie Champion went 22-2 and took the title in the Shoreline Conference Doubles Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Arnel Ramos )
Ada Ramos had a spectacular sophomore season for the Valley Regional girls’ tennis team this spring. Ada and her No. 1 doubles partner, recent graduate Allie Champion, posted a mark of 22-2 on the year, and the Warriors finished with that same exact record. Ada and Champion also claimed the crown in the Shoreline Conference Doubles Tournament, after which they helped Valley advance to the Class S State Tournament final for the first time in program history.
Ada was happy when she and Champion finished first in the Shoreline tourney, yet she’s keeping that victory in perspective. Although doubles tennis is a lot of fun and challenging in its own way, Ada has her sights set on making her mark on the singles circuit next season.
“I’m really proud of it, but I really want to play singles and do tennis in college. So, I’m thinking of it as a step in what I want to do overall,” Ada says. “I love Allie and I love doubles, but I think I’m more independent. I like to do my own thing, and it’s easier to rely on just myself.”
While Ada wants to win every match that she plays, she believes that playing doubles alongside Champion has honed her competitive edge.
“I’m competitive, but I’m not that competitive. Allie really pushed me to want to win a lot more,” says Ada. “I want to win, of course, but she wanted to win really bad.”
Ada feels proud of what she accomplished this year, but she was also impressed with how her teammates performed on the court. Valley fielded a strong team that featured several quality players who guided the club on a 17-match winning streak this season.
“Our record this year was kind of a surprise. We didn’t have a great team record last year,” Ada says. “Then we made it states and lost to a really good team, Weston, in the finals. Overall, I’d say it was a good experience.”
After winning a Shoreline title, Ada wasn’t too concerned with the pressure of playing on the big stage in states. The Warriors won handily in their three matches prior to facing Weston in the final. Ada took the pressure of the moment and turned it around on her opponents, while helping Valley advance to the championship match.
“At states, I think the main difference was that they had a lot of courts. I wasn’t really feeling that pressure to win,” says Ada, who lives in Deep River. “There was more pressure on Weston, because they were undefeated. I still got a bit nervous, though.”
Ada got her start in tennis when she was just seven years old. As a result of plenty of hard work over the years, she’s has really raised her game. Now, Ada is making shots that her opponents can’t catch up to, along with spinning the ball to cause a little havoc.
“I started when I was little. My dad Arnel was obsessed with tennis, and I used to play at the Guilford Racquet & Swim Club a lot. I didn’t really like it at first, but I just got into it, and I really like it now,” Ada says. “Now, I’m hitting harder, and I’m putting more spin on the ball. Usually, I use topspin or I’ll hit flat, and that can be even faster than a spinning ball.”
Head Coach Sally Riggio enjoyed working with Ada this year and says that she’s a pleasure to be around both on and off the court. At the end of the season, Riggio presented Ada with the Warriors’ Sportsmanship Award for displaying an even-keeled demeanor in high-pressure situations.
“Ada has a kind heart and a happy spirit. She is well-liked and respected by her teammates. Ada won our Sportsmanship Award, because she has demonstrated unflappable poise under tremendously contentious circumstances,” says Riggio. “I am so proud of Ada. She’s a talented tennis player that is underestimated at times—to her opponents’ detriment. I’m lucky to be her coach.”
Looking ahead, Ada hopes to make her debut on the singles court during the 2020 campaign. Ada and Coach Riggio have already discussed that possibility, and they both believe that next season is the perfect opportunity.
“I love tennis, because it’s a lot more of an individual sport than others. I like that it’s still a team, but you’re out there alone competing with the support of the team,” Ada says. “I think I’ll really get that next year. Coach Riggio really wants me to play singles, and I really want to play singles. So, I think we’re going to try that next year.”