BEXLEY, Ohio (WCMH) — Fourteen-year-old Amiya Bowles made history Saturday, becoming the first Bexley High School girls tennis player to win a singles state championship since 1982.
Bowles, who switched from swimming to tennis during the pandemic, won the Division II title as a freshman. It is the first Bexley tennis player to win a title since two-time state champion Jane Cohodes won it 40 and 42 years ago.
“It was just a very emotional and satisfying moment for me and my family,” she said.
A 21-0 season capped off by a state title is worth celebrating. But not for long. Amiya was back on the court this week training with her dad, Baradino, who’s also her coach.
“Tennis was always one of those father daughter leisurely activities,” he said.
Leisure turned to labor because on the court, Amiya works to perfect her craft.
“If something just didn’t sit right with me after a match, I would be like ‘Hey we can go to the courts and fix this up,’ so we’ll go over there for like 30 minutes just to clean it up and be satisfied before the day’s over with,” Amiya said.
That determination turned heads at national and international tournaments, including the Orange Bowl, where she was recognized by the United States Tennis Association at the National Campus in Orlando, Florida.
“One of the coaches really liked how I played and wanted me to train down there more and that’s how I knew I was like, ‘Wow, I’m starting to get my name out there,'” Amiya said.
“I see that she has that it factor and if she wants it, there’s no limit to what she’s capable of doing,” Baradino said.
Amiya’s handle on Instagram is AmiyaUpNext, and up next, she plans on taking the tennis world by storm.
“I would want to pursue my tennis career becoming pro and the goal for pro is obviously to be No. 1,” she said. “Right now it’s just still taking baby steps. I’m just 14 so it’s like I’ve got to build my way up there.”
Amiyah says building her way up there starts with going to college, preferably UCLA or Duke, where she wants to play tennis and study to become a pediatrician.