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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Bobcat tennis transfer broadens team passion

Mandalyn Lewallen
Texas State junior tennis player Sofia Fortuno eyes her opponent, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Bobcat Tennis Complex.

Originating from Caracas, Venezuela, junior Sofia Fortuno made her way to San Marcos to compete as a Division I athlete for the Texas State tennis team.

Texas State was not her first choice as she originally signed with Western Kentucky University, but after talking with coaches about the program she quickly changed her decision and accepted her full-ride offer to become a Bobcat.

Texas State Head Tennis Coach Kendall Brooks said she began recruiting Fortuno during her first year as a head coach after studying her film.

“She had good hands at the net, and with her athleticism, she brought a really big game,” Brooks said. “When I spoke with her on the phone I knew right away she was the perfect player I would love to have. [She is] just very passionate and driven. That has continued to be the case every single day since she’s been here.”

Fortuno said she grew up with the goal of playing in the United States on her mind. She has been playing tennis competitively since she was 10 years old but couldn’t envision a future for herself in the sport, as there are no collegiate-level women’s tennis programs in Venezuela.

Fortuno grew up in a household with her parents and two brothers, and had to say goodbye to them in order to achieve the goals she set for herself. Fortuno said the transition from leaving her home was one of the most difficult things she has ever done.

“Here you have your teammates and coaches, but you are doing life by yourself. Far away, even over the phone, it’s not the same,” Fortuno said. “I didn’t think it was going to be hard, but [during my] first semester here I missed my mom a lot.”

The Latino-American culture is very warm and family-oriented, and Fortuno brought these same traditions to Texas State. With her enthusiastic and loving personality, she has been a great addition to the Texas State roster, not only by winning multiple athletic and academic awards, but also by contributing to her teammate’s success through encouragement.

“We are all so close… It’s different to go to practice and just have fun with the people that are there,” Fortuno said. “I’m so competitive and so is everyone on the team. I just want us all to do well.”

According to junior tennis player Maria Lora, the energy Fortuno brings to the team on and off the court is immense and greatly appreciated.

“She is just amazing,” Lora said. “She’s always there for you no matter what. She always makes you laugh… She’s just an amazing person to be with.”

Fortuno’s exceptional attitude and ambition as a tennis player have led her to be very successful in the past and marked the pathway for a bright upcoming season this spring. In 2022, she was awarded CSC Academic All-District Team, ITA Scholar-Athlete, Texas State Star of Excellence Award with a 4.0 GPA and Sun Belt Commissioners List.

For the 2022-23 season, Fortuno advanced to the ITA Texas Regional Championship and was undefeated in three singles and two doubles matches at the Texas State Fall Invite.

For the spring season of 2024 as she approaches her senior year, she has more confidence than before and plans to dictate her opponent’s moves whether she plays solo or with a doubles partner.

“I can throw Sofia out there with anyone and I know she would do good,” Brooks said. “I think she is capable of even more than she has accomplished so far. I just want to see her improve and help lead the team in any way that she can.”

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