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Camp makes difference for Maclay's Sanchez

Some of them looked at her like she was crazy.

When Maclay's Carolina (pronounced like Caroleena) Sanchez informed her friends that she was attending the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton for Spring Break, she got more than a few puzzled responses.

"A lot of people said, 'Oh my gosh, you're going to a tennis camp? Why would you do that?'" Sanchez said with a laugh. "But it was so much more than a tennis camp, with the friends I made and the people I met . . . I didn't want to leave actually. It was so much fun."

It also apparently helped her game quite a bit.

Sanchez, who plays at No. 3 for Maclay's talented team, got a measure of revenge recently when she defeated Munroe's Beth Summerford, who had handed her the only two losses of the 2008 season.

"I imagine not too many other girls even picked up a racket during Spring Break," Maclay tennis coach Corbin Graves said. "She really takes her game seriously. She's a straight-A student. She's just a fantastic girl."

Sanchez will be playing at Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.) next season and says her initial plans are to major in International Relations. But her immediate plans are to try and help the Marauders, who are 13-0 this season, at least equal their fourth-place showing at state last year.

That's a tough task in Class 1A, which routinely features some of the top tennis-playing schools in the state.

Maclay takes on Bozeman today in the first round of regionals.

"State is always a lot of fun," Sanchez said. "I love challenges. I don't expect to go in there and blow everybody out, but it's a lot of fun competing at that level."    

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