FARMINGTON — Emily Nguyen will get the opportunity to showcase her tennis talents against some of the best young players in the western United States.
The Farmington girl was selected to represent the Southwest Section in the United States Tennis Association's Junior Zonal Championships in Tucson, Ariz., on July 23 to 28.
She is one of 12 kids from New Mexico, Arizona and west Texas to compete in the 12-and-under division of the tournament against teams from Hawaii, California, Washington and Oregon.
"I was really excited to find out that I made it," she said. "Most of the players that participate in this tournament train every day, but I live in a small town where I don't train a lot. I thought it was a great opportunity. I'm here right now, and it is really fun."
The 12-year-old, who attends Heights Middle School, is excited to compete in the event and can't wait to meet new people who also enjoy the sport.
"One goal is that I win at least one match. I also want to make new friends with other kids who play tennis, but in other places," she said. "I also expect that I will have a great attitude while playing, because that's important, too."
Nguyen's selection was based on tournament play throughout the region in 2013, and she recently came away with a victory in the Lorenzi Summer Junior Singles tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. on July 21.
She also received a scholarship from the New Mexico Youth Tennis Foundation to assist her with travel expenses.
"This trip is pretty important to me. I will only get to do this once," she said.
Nguyen is hopeful that the experience gained at the event will help her progress as she moves closer to her high school tennis career.
"I get to play other people and find out what I need to do to beat them," said Nguyen, whose older sister, Danielle, plays tennis for Farmington High. "Team tennis is different. You aren't just playing for yourself, but for others too. You learn teamwork and leadership."
On top of her success on the tennis court, Nguyen also excels in the classroom.
"She scored in the 99.9th percentile in the ACT Explore test, a smaller version of ACT, and as a result, she was accepted into the Center for Bright Kids in the Rocky Mountain region," said Kim Nguyen, Emily's mother. "She spent two weeks at summer study at the Colorado School of Mines. She is ecstatic to be invited and is excited to participate in the Zonal Championship, in addition to meeting and playing new players around the west."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.