Jenny Marques made an auspicious debut as a freshman for the Laguna Hills High School girls' tennis team. She had a 63-5 record in her round-robin sets, was the Hawks' No. 1 singles player and helped the team to a 19-1 record.
As a sophomore, Marques again won more than 60 sets and led Laguna Hills to the Southern Section 3-A championship match, which the Hawks lost to San Marino.
And so far during her junior season, little has changed. She has continued to establish herself as one of the best singles players in Orange County.
Marques, The Times' Athlete of the Week, is unbeaten in 18 sets. Last week, she defeated three opponents from La Quinta, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, and added 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 victories in a match against El Toro.
"She's obviously won a lot of important points for us," Jack Hodges, Laguna Hills coach, said. "She was third (in the Pacific Coast League singles tournament) as a freshman. Last year, she was second. Probably, she'll be number one this year."
That would figure because Marques' toughest Pacific Coast League opponents for the last two years, Julie Willett of Woodbridge and Mindy Leach of Laguna Beach, have graduated.
Winning the league tournament would be nice, but she has set loftier goals.
Marques wants to reach at least the semifinal round of the Southern Section individual tournament this season.
Last year, she made it as far as the quarterfinals before losing to Debbie Goldberger of Edison.
Aside from her unbeaten record, her most noteworthy accomplishment this season is a 6-4 victory over Kristin Green of Dana Hills, the defending South Coast League singles champion and one of the county's top players. "I guess it gave me some confidence," Marques said.
Given her record at Laguna Hills, Marques' background may seem somewhat surprising. She has only been playing tennis seriously since she was 13. Marques, now 16, played tennis for fun with her mother. Soccer was Marques' main pursuit until she began junior high school.
She still likes soccer, but cannot find the time to play. She plays tennis year-round, competing in junior tournaments such as the Fiesta Bowl tournament in Arizona in December.
She finds the junior tournament much more competitive, but that doesn't mean she takes the high school season lightly.
There are 3-A team and individual titles still to be won.
Staci Carrington led Cypress to victory in the Pacifica Invitational cross-country meet Saturday with a second-place finish in 19:32.
Heather Killeen of Valencia finished third in the Dana Hills Invitational cross-country meet Saturday with a county-best time of 17 minutes 39 seconds over the 3-mile course.
Bev Oden of Irvine had 15 kills and was named the most valuable player of the Orange County volleyball tournament Saturday. The Vaqueros won the team championship, 15-7, 15-10, over Laguna Beach.
Laguna Hills High School
Position: No. 1 singles
Height, Class: 5-4, Junior
Last Week: Marques defeated all three opponents in a match against La Quinta, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. She also defeated three El Toro players, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.
Season: Marques has an 18-0 record this season.