Athlete of the Week May 8th - Maria Ross of Out-of-Door Academy

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- Very few high school freshman athletes make the varsity, let alone excel at that level. But Out-of-Door Academy has a tennis player who accomplished both of those.

It is readily apparent, at least to her coach, that Maria Ross has the intangibles to be a state champion tennis player. "Those 4 things combine to make her a phenomenal player. She is so coachable, so affable. She is a dream," says Thunder tennis coach Noel Dougherty.

She must have the physical skills, and those intangibles, because Maria not only won the singles state title, but she also teamed with Mary Ann Rompf for the state doubles title as well. "It was great. One was enough, but winning both of them was amazing. Also, having the doubles title share with Mary Ann was great," says Ross.

You must remember, she is just a freshman. "She is one of the most balanced, complete players that you can run across. She has athleticism, she's got composure, she has beautiful strokes. She steps out on the court and people are drawn to the court to watch her play," says Dougherty.

Ross is an exceptional student in school, and she carries her learning abilities out to the tennis court. Her tennis upside seems limitless. "She's got an amazing road ahead of her. I'm not sure what it is yet, but if there is anyone who can handle it, it is Maria," says Dougherty.

“I am just going to play on the junior tour for now, and hopefully, go to college for tennis," says Ross.

Congratulations to Maria Ross, a 2-time tennis state champion from Out-of-Door Academy. She is our ABC 7 Athlete of the Week.