Tennis player Zaire named in intercollegiate team
Tennis starlet Zaire Simmons put another feather in her cap after being named in the 2013 Women's Tennis All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Team.
The Virginia State University student had the honour bestowed upon her as reward for an outstanding season on court for the Lady Trojans.
Simmons posted an impressive 6-2 record in singles play and went 7-2 in doubles as the Lady Trojans completed the regular season with an overall 14-2 record in conference play.
“It feels good to be named to the All-CIAA Team,” said the daughter of former Somerset Trojans footballer Donald Simmons and Norette Simmons. “The teams we play against are pretty hard so I was actually surprised how good I did. This is the first time I've been named to the All-CIAA Team which is a very big achievement and I'm very excited.”
The Sandys resident was also twice named among the CIAA Women's Tennis Players of the Week during the regular season.
Simmons, 18, attributes her steady progress in her chosen sport to the solid support she receives from her family and sound advice of Lady Trojans women's tennis coach Linda Person.
“My family and friends have been helping me out and also my coach at Virginia State University who always encourages me to play hard,” she said. “Now I have that fighting spirit to win every match that I play. I just go out and have fun and play to the best that I can.”
Simmons' former coach, Sam Maybury, says the Lady Trojans player is reaping the benefits from her newly found hard work ethic.
“Zaire has worked extremely hard since she's been abroad and has really caught fire of what it takes to get to that point because she was a shy kind of girl and really didn't have that initiative to push herself before,” he said. “She always had the potential because she a natural athlete, she just didn't have the initiative to really work hard on her own. But now that she's gone through the regiment of the level of training that's done at the University level she's caught fire.
“Zaire comes from a family who has stood behind her and really pushed her through and now she has taken the baton up herself and is reaping the benefits of what she is doing for herself now. And her latest accomplishment is a testament to that.”
The promising athlete and sister of Somerset Trojans footballer Tyrell Burgess is among those bidding for a place in Bermuda's women's tennis team to compete at July's Small Island Games to be held on local shores.
Simmons says the prospect of showcasing her budding skills in front of the home crowd has given her added incentive to make the team.
“Being that it (Island Games) is taking place at home makes me even more excited because my family can actually watch and cheer me on and I can fight even harder to win matches,” the former Warwick Academy student added. “That would be another good opportunity for me.”