Codd preparing for the next level

Katie Codd has played both junior tennis and interscholastic tennis during her high school years.
Katie Codd has played both junior tennis and interscholastic tennis during her high school years.
(Ken Grosse)

Canyon Crest senior playing junior tennis before college


Canyon Crest Academy’s Katie Codd, who won the San Diego Section singles championship in girls tennis as a freshman, is gearing up for another freshman year.

That would be at Duke University, starting next fall.

Meanwhile, Codd’s devoting her senior year of high school to preparations between training and ITF Junior World Tour tournaments that can lead to pro events.

“I’m really excited,” Codd said. “I’d like to get an ITF ranking into next year. Also, when I get to college, I won’t have such a big transition.”

Instead of prep play, Codd opened her fall schedule in an ITF tourney recently at Corpus Christi, Texas, where she reached the second round in a 64-player field.

There was once word that Codd would graduate early from high school and head to Duke in the spring, but she opted to stay at Canyon Crest for a full senior experience.

Codd surveyed colleges on both the West Coast and East Coast before connecting with Duke, which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships last season.

“I just feel like Duke was the best school for me,” Codd said. “The people there are great. This is the best place for me to take my game to the next level. Also, they have great academics as well as tennis.”

Codd expects to major in economics or finance at Duke. Her interest in those subjects was partly fueled by a marketing class that she took her freshman year at Canyon Crest.

That same year, Codd definitely took care of business on the court.

First, as part of the singles lineup, Codd helped the Ravens win the Open Division team title, taking the crown after Torrey Pines came to the end of a 28-year championship reign with a quarterfinals loss to Bishop’s.

Codd then prevailed in the singles final over sophomore teammate Irene Huang in a third-set tiebreaker to end a match taking 3 hours, 30 minutes. The final score was 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (4).

“I just kept believing in myself,” Codd said. “I didn’t let anything faze me.”

Canyon Crest is now seeking its fourth straight crown this season, led by seniors Lynna Fowler and Asha Gidwani, who also helped start the streak. As a sign of the program’s ongoing strength, the lineup includes promising freshmen Yule Kang and Mia Thiele.

Codd bypassed prep play for junior tennis as a sophomore. But she returned when the traditional girls fall season was converted to coed tennis last spring due to the pandemic and played mixed doubles with her brother, Jackson, then a sophomore.

The siblings reached the section finals, won by Otay Ranch’s Emely Valencia and M.J. Abarca, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Over the years, Codd has transformed from being mainly a retriever in her words “chasing down shots to extend rallies” to being more aggressive by dictating shot placement and coming to the net more often.

This approach added to a core of her other strengths.

“I like to mix up the pace of ball with slices and heavy top spin,” the 5-foot-9 right-hander said. “I definitely think that my backhand is stronger than my forehand. Also, I have a strong first serve, so that opens up the court a lot for me.”

It all came together for Codd in the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s National Championships at the Barnes Tennis Center in mid-August. Seeded 17th, she reached the quarterfinals before bowing to No. 1 Robin Montgomery, of Washington.

Attaining such heights has been the result of dedication by a player who started playing at age 4 and first entered competitive tourneys at 9.

“I had to work at it a bit,” Codd said. “When I was younger, I wasn’t a top-ranked player. I’m only where I am right now because of all that hard work.”

—Glae Thien is a freelance writer.