Freshman wins CIF Division 3 girls tennis singles title – a first for Sunny Hills

Sunny Hills freshman Daniela Bourrel (right) stands with athletic director Paul Jones (left) after winning the CIF-Southern Section singles title at Whittier Narrows on Dec. 2.

Daniela Bourrel

Sunny Hills freshman Daniela Bourrel (right) stands with athletic director Paul Jones (left) after winning the CIF-Southern Section singles title at Whittier Narrows on Dec. 2.

Daniel Kong

In the 62 years of Sunny Hills High School, no female athlete has ever won a CIF tennis singles title.

It took a first-year freshman to change that and make history for the SH girls tennis program.

Daniela Borruel played and won all of the six rounds she played in the 25-person tournament for the CIF Division 3 Southern Section individuals championship, an event that started Dec. 1 and ended Dec. 2.

“I felt really proud about bringing the win to Sunny Hills,” Borruel said. “I felt proud to know that all of my training is showing results, and the outcome is what I expected and even more.”

As the No. 5 nationally-ranked singles player in her respective age group and a 5-star recruit according to tennisrecruiting.net, Borruel defeated junior Mika Ikemori from Marina High School in straight sets, 6-3 and 7-5, during the final match to secure the singles title at the Whittier Narrows Tennis Center. 

“I think I strategized against her very well,” she said. “I came up to the net more often and played to get my first serve percentage in, which helped me win more consecutive points and eventually win the game.”

But before Borruel could reach the championship game, she had to face senior Lindsey Eisenman from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, who she stated was her toughest opponent. The final match scores were 7-5 and 6-2 in favor of Borruel. 

“The semifinals were a big and nerve-racking game, but I was able to maintain my composure and take the first set,” the freshman said. “I knew that it was an important moment for me because of the potential opportunities it would allow me to have, such as advancing to the finals.”

Prior to this achievement, Borruel led the Lady Lancers to its victory against Troy High School in October by winning all three of her sets against Troy’s No. 1 singles seed Nadia Kojo to capture the Freeway League championship title. 

“Going undefeated in the Freeway League felt great, and it was an amazing journey,” Borruel said. “I was able to feel the support from teammates, who really allowed me to be confident.”

Head boys and girls coach Chris Ghareebo praises her on her consistent work ethic and her tremendous contribution to the team.

“[Bourrel] is a force to be reckoned with,” Ghareebo said. “She’s an incredibly hardworking individual and I cannot wait for her potential to grow further in the next three years.”

To recognize her triumphant performances in CIF, the Orange County Register highlighted Borruel as the OC athlete of the week for the week of Dec. 7, following the singles victory. 

“It was great to be nominated and to be recognized for my efforts,” Borruel said. “I want to thank everybody who voted for me.”

Returning to Sunny Hills as a sophomore this fall, Borruel plans on playing doubles with junior Crystal Kim before she graduates.

“It would be fun to work together,” Borruel said. “As for my junior and senior years, I would like to keep playing CIF singles individuals; it was a great experience, and I am looking forward to [competing] again.”