Courtney Hebard made history.
By simply, actually not so simply, winning a tennis match, the Steinbrenner senior tennis standout did something no other Warriors tennis player had done – advance to the state tournament.
It wasn’t easy. Hebard had to first dispatch of Plant No. 1 singles player Gabby Rodriguez, a player from the team that’s cornered the market on district No. 1 singles title for nearly a decade. That marathon match in the 4A-District 7 semis lasted two hours.
Then she had to beat Wharton’s Vanina Iordanova, a player heading to Rutgers after high school and a player who won the first set 6-4. But Hebard fought back to take the second set, 6-3, then the third, 10-5, for the title and history.
“I’m proud to be a Steinbrenner Warrior and be able to make history,” Hebard said. “And I want to make more. I want to win states. That’s my goal.”
“She didn’t just win for Courtney. She won for years of just, in the brief history that we have been here at Steinbrenner,” Warriors tennis coach Ruth Medveczky said. “So, we were all behind her. Even kids who didn’t know her personally, but they were like, oh we know Courtney Hebard. She beat Plant. She beat Wharton. It’s incredible. It’s brought us all together.”
The Steinbrenner tennis program has been closer ever since Hebard transferred from Saddlebrook, making an immediate impact on her new team.
“Courtney has a way of increasing all of our levels of competition,” Medveczky said. “She makes us better players. She makes us better people. We’re better Steinbrenner Warriors because she’s her with us.”
After Steinbrenner, Hebard is taking her tennis talents to Marquette where she will continue to play the sport she loves so much.
“I just absolutely love the feeling when I’m in a really close match and I pull it out,” Hebard said. “It’s like the best feeling in the world. I love it. I love hitting the ball and just being able to be out here and doing what I love every day. I love it.”
Click on the video to see Hebard in action.