Buenrostro returns to state. | Submitted photo

A year after becoming the first Proviso East High School tennis player to qualify for the IHSA state tennis tournament in more than 35 years, sophomore Janet Buenrostro, 15, has done it again.

On Oct. 13, Buenrostro earned a second straight state tournament appearance after placing third in sectional competition.

Buenrostro beat out top competition from Oak Park and River Forest High School and Fenwick before losing to St. Ignatius prep. She beat OPRF’s number one singles player 6-4, 6-0 to take third place.

“It has been awesome to be part of this,” said her coach, Peter Zak, during an interview on Sunday. “Her goal last year was to get back to state this year and that’s what she did.” 

Buenrostro was defeated in the tourney’s first round last year, losing 6-4, 6-1 to Sophie Davis of Providence Catholic in New Lenox.

The East tennis star, however, showed resilience in the first round consolation bracket, soundly defeating Kayla McSweeney of Richards in Oak Lawn 6-0, 6-1, before losing in the second round consolation bracket to Marta Krakowski of Elgin High School in Elgin 6-0, 6-2.

Zak said he doesn’t yet know who Buenrostro will face during this year’s state tournament, which starts Thursday. Whoever she faces, Zak said, will be playing against a much more mature player this time around.

“This year was a lot different than last year,” Zak said. “She’s a little more focused on the task at hand and what she needs to do. She’s taking it a lot more seriously and really stepping up and maturing.”

CONTACT: Michael@oakpark.com