Stockton, Calif. — The mild-mannered and usually affable Christiana Ferrari turns into a tigress on the tennis court.
Not many in the area were able to tame the recent St. Mary's graduate over the past four years, as she compiled a spectacular 73-4 record for the Rams. Ferrari has earned a scholarship to Pacific and her accomplishments on and off the court contributed to her being named a finalist for the Charles Washington Award.
Ferrari was the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I singles champion her junior and senior seasons at St. Mary's, and she was undefeated in Tri-City Athletic League play all four years, helping the Rams win four league titles. Ferrari also is The Record's Girls Tennis Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive time.
She posted a 3.47 grade-point average, while aiding in fundraising efforts for the Women's Center of San Joaquin County and volunteering for the Special Olympics. She also served as a teachers' assistant at St. Mary's and Presentation School. But pleasantries take a back seat when the 18-year-old picks up a racket.
"I'm a totally different person on the court," Ferrari said. "I get my game face on and even if I know you, you're just a competitor to me."
Since 2002, Ferrari has played on the USTA junior circuit, but her father, Larry, wanted her to experience team structure at the high school level. Christiana Ferrari played under longtime St. Mary's coach Dian Kern, taking over as the No. 1 player as a freshman. Ferrari said the toughest moments of her high school career came in 2010, when Kern lost her battle with cancer.
The Rams suddenly needed a coach and Larry Ferrari accepted the position. Christiana ended any awkwardness by being dominant.
"Being her father, I was sensitive to her role on the team," Larry Ferrari said. "I knew she would be setting a good example for everyone, but I didn't want her to face resentment. It turned out very positive for her, being on a team and being around teammates, it brought her a lot of positive attention."
Christiana Ferrari said she is grateful to have shared her high school tennis experience with close friend Nina Garibaldi. The two have known each other since sixth grade and became best friends as freshmen.
"She's very energetic on and off the court," Garibaldi said. "She's a great friend who I can trust with anything. She's really fun off court. On the court, she's aggressive and gets very loud, but she's fun to play with."
Ferrari will be business major and attempt to add to her championship collection. Pacific director of tennis, Ryan Redondo, believes she has the potential to be a foundation piece for the women's program.
Christiana said she's focused on enjoying the next four years like she did the previous four.
"I wouldn't change a thing about my high school experience," Ferrari said. "I loved all aspects of it."