News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Kizziar to play tennis for George Fox University

Juhree Kizziar, who has competed in the No. 1 varsity singles spot all four years at Sisters High School (SHS), has committed to play tennis for the George Fox University Bruins next year.

Kizziar has lived in Sisters her whole life, but didn't pick up a tennis racket until seventh grade. She told The Nugget she just hit the ball around with her older brother Jed, who played tennis at SHS and has been the girls assistant tennis coach for the past four years.

Juhree noted that she played tennis her freshman year just for fun, but started to take the sport seriously her sophomore year. She began taking private lessons from Bruce Fenn, who took over as head coach for the girls tennis program that year, and kept up the lessons through this year.

The summer after her sophomore and junior years, Kizziar played in three or four tournaments in both Portland and Bend. She entered as a singles player, and at times played doubles with her brother Jed.

Kizziar told The Nugget that she began getting the technical part of tennis down her sophomore year.

"I learned better how to serve, how to get more top spin on the ball, how to slice, and I learned more strategies," said Kizziar. "As I played my junior year those skills continued to improve."

Her junior and senior year she gave up basketball and focused solely on tennis. The fall of her junior year she played tennis at Eagle Crest and at the beginning of her senior year she got a membership at the Athletic Club of Bend, where she played five days a week.

At the start of the tennis season this year she hired an athletic trainer who specializes in physical therapy and athletic training and met with him twice a week throughout the season.

"He gave me specialized tennis workouts to improve my game," said Kizziar. "It really helped with my flexibility, strength and conditioning, and relaxed my muscles so I wasn't so tense when I played."

Kizziar has been a stand out tennis player at SHS all four years. Her freshman year she earned a fourth place finish at district, and second place finish her sophomore year at the 4A level. She posted a first place finish her junior and senior year at the Special District 1A/2A,3A, level.

At the state level she made it to the quarterfinals all four years, and finished fifth.

Kizziar wanted to play tennis at the collegiate level and last summer played in a tournament at George Fox University. She did very well at the tournament, her scores were reported to Bruin's Head tennis Coach Rick Cruz, and he was told that Kizziar looked like a player he should recruit.

"I loved the facilities, everyone was super-nice, and I loved the campus," said Kizziar. "My sister Jenna attended there this year, and so that really piqued my interest of going there."

After that, Kizziar played in a tournament held at Caldera where Cruz's twin brother and assistant head tennis coach at Fox was in attendance. Cruz saw Kizziar play and noticed she was wearing a George Fox shirt. Cruz approached Kizziar and asked her if she'd be interested in playing tennis for the Bruins. Her answer was an immediate yes.

Kizziar signed a letter of intent in April and will head to George Fox at the end of August. She plans to major in elementary education and minor in psychology. She received a $20,000 Merit Scholarship and a $1,500 scholarship for the honors program, of which she will be a part.

"I'm very excited to be a part of a team that wants to work every single day to get better, not only in terms of their game, but as a person and leader," said Kizziar. "I know being a part of this environment will benefit me in more ways than one."


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