March 01, 2023
Go, Bulldogs! AHA Senior Erin Ha Set to Play Tennis for Yale
Game, set, and match: Erin Ha. This Tenafly teen just signed her letter of intent to play tennis for the Yale Bulldogs. Her February 17 signing ceremony was held at the Academy of the Holy Angels, where Ha is midway through her senior year. Those in attendance included teammates, classmates, and Ha’s parents Karen and David.
During her high school years, Ha posted an overall record of 72-5. As an Angel, Ha went 13-2 as a junior and 25-1 as a senior, averaging 36.7 minutes per match.
“We welcomed Erin to our program as a junior, and she catapulted our tennis team to great heights,” AHA Athletic Director Patti Gorsuch said. “She is not only an amazing player, but a true leader and an inspiration to all of our girls. Her hard work and dedication to her sport are incredible. I think her career is only just taking off, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at Yale.”
AHA Varsity Tennis Coach Meaghan Williams added, “It has been my pleasure to serve as Erin’s high school tennis coach for her junior and senior years. Erin improved very much between the two years, especially with her speed from the first step, drop shot, and serve. Erin put her focus into each match, raising her expectations against each opponent. Erin encouraged each teammate to improve her own game. She always played with grace and honorably represented Holy Angels.”
Ha said, “I was extremely happy to see my acceptance to Yale.” Although she felt confident about her application, she acknowledged, “It was a relief to finally see the physical letter.”
The invitation to study at Yale fulfills a goal Ha set for herself. As an AHA junior, she expressed gratitude for the time and effort her parents have invested in her athletic pursuits, and expressed a specific wish.
“I hope to be able to make them proud and commit to an amazing college, hopefully by early or middle of next year!” Ha said back in December of 2021. Her hard work has made her goal a reality.
In September 2022, Ha finished the Bergen County Tournament with a win in first singles. She also helped power the varsity squad to the BC team title in the small school bracket. In October, Ha played in the State Championship Finals.
Most recently, she competed in the 18’s Indoor Nationals, where she made it to the quarters in singles, and the finals in doubles.
In 2021, Ha won the USTA National Girls’ 16 Indoor Singles Championship. The same year, she and Brooke Hess (AHA ’22) individually played their way to the State Singles Semifinals, and faced each other for the right to move on to the finals. Ha emerged victorious and finished the finals as state runner-up.
Ha developed an interest in her sport as a girl. At the age of seven, she was hitting the courts with her father, a former high school tennis player. Three years later, she was taking lessons and entering tournaments.
This scholar athlete appreciates her sport, since skill and success are not linked to a player’s age, size, or height. She also knows tennis is a great way for people to connect with each other. In fact, tennis has facilitated Ha’s friendships with athletes from Europe and California.
It’s not all fun and games: Ha said a difficult match can last over three hours. In addition to putting in the time to practice and stretch, she makes an effort to eat well and stay hydrated before she competes.
Although Ha has earned many accolades since she started her athletic career, she is particularly pleased to have won the USTA Sportsmanship Award in the 12 and under age group. Ha realizes that she was one of many candidates, and appreciates the recognition of her positive attitude.
Ha is also dedicated to helping the next generation of tennis players. Her volunteer activities include refereeing at a local racquet club, and coaching younger athletes.
“You could probably catch me on the Englewood public courts as a volunteer coach in a program called GRIT in the spring and summer time,” she shared. “It is a wonderful group of high school kids who volunteer to help give back to the younger children in our community.”
GRIT was launched by Chaiyon “Chennie” Kim (AHA ’20), who wanted young athletes to exhibit growth, resilience, initiative, and tenacity.
“I know Chennie really well and I’ve played with her when I was younger,” Ha shared. She added that family friend Scott Kim and Ha’s father are helping with GRIT while Chennie and her brother are at college.
“I’m currently in the French National Honor Society and on the executive board for the National Honor Society,” Ha said of her involvement at Holy Angels. Outside of the Academy, Ha enjoys spending time with friends, listening to a wide variety of music, and reading books. When she enters Yale this fall, Ha plans to study economics.
Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County.