HighFIVE: Kasia Chen
It was a busy summer for 12-year old Kasia Chen of Lafayette. In June, she reached the singles finals and won the doubles title at the ITA Summer Sectional in Denver. She then headed to Florida where she won the 12 and under “Little Mo” East Regional without losing a set, earning her a spot in the 16-person draw at the National tournament held last month in Austin, Texas.
The “Little Mo” tournament series is an annual event which features some of the top young talent in the country. This was the 24th year of the yearlong circuit of sectional, regional, and national tournaments for players who reside in the US and its territories (due to COVID, sectionals were not held this year). It is the only circuit of its kind for talented, high-performance boys and girls in the US.
Kasia had a great run at the Nationals, making it to the semifinals of the back-draw. She said, “I had an amazing experience at the Little Mo tournaments this year. I got to play on green clay at the Regionals. It was a new experience for me and one that I enjoyed a lot. The most significant thing I noticed playing in the Nationals was the level of competition. It was very inspiring, and I enjoyed making new friends from across the country on the tennis court!”
Born in Minneapolis, Kasia and her family moved to Colorado when she was 3. It was right around that time when Kasia first picked up a racquet.
“My mom signed me up for lessons because she believed that it would be good for hand-eye coordination which would then translate into any other sport. I ended up sticking with tennis!”
The Peak to Peak Charter School 7th grader certainly made a good choice. Currently ranked 1st in the District, 4th in the Section, and 86th Nationally, Kasia says she simply loves to compete.
“I enjoy playing all kinds of sports and have never met a ball I didn’t like, but tennis gives me the opportunity to push myself in ways that other sports don’t. During a match, you play every single role on the team — offense, defense, player, on-court coach,” says Kasia.
Kasia’s mature sense of the game is reflected in her favorite players. She says “I love watching how Nadal goes after every single ball like it’s the last one he’s going to hit in his life. My other favorite is Dominic Thiem. His style is very dynamic, and he almost plays like a cross between Federer and Nadal.”
Speaking of pros...Kasia spent a little time with Coco Gauff this summer. “I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Coco at the Little Mo East Regionals. Her younger brother was playing, and she was there to support him. She was so kind and took the time to take pictures with and say hello to everyone gathering in the area,” explained Kasia.
Keep an eye out for this emerging young player. Kasia Chen has all the ingredients to make it big!
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