Senior Mari Toro’s days at the University of Miami may be coming to an end soon, but her time here has been an experience she will surely miss.
Toro, a 5′ 9″ singles player on the women’s tennis team, was born here in Miami. She is double majoring in broadcasting and Spanish, including a minor in sports management. She began playing tennis at the age of five, because her dad wanted to pass to her his love for the game. Today, she is a confident, mature, and motivated person whose traits have made her an accomplished tennis player and an above average student.
Before attending the University of Miami, Toro spent time playing in professional tournaments and for Florida International University for a year. She walked on to the women’s tennis team at FIU, and immediately moved up the ranks to the top two singles positions.
After a stellar year at FIU, Toro transferred to Miami, where she made another immediate impact.
“In Mari’s first year here she had some big shoes to fill and did a great job,” Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk said.
Playing at the No 1 position, Toro led the team to the Big East title and was named the conference’s Most Valuable Player. Ranked No. 59 for singles and No. 55 for doubles, she finished her first year at Miami with a 24-10 overall record
Toro’s tenure with the Hurricanes hasn’t always gone smoothly, however. During her junior year she was asked to assume a different role at the third and fourth singles positions. It was tough for Toro but served as a learning experience, as she battled through a shoulder injury.
Toro has always been a leader on the team, whether it has been with her performance on the court or with her academic standing off it. According to Yaroshuk, Toro is the vocal leader on the team. When she tells her teammates to jump, they ask how high, and when she says run, they ask how hard.
Toro has been able to consistently attain a 3.0 G.P.A. Her academic success is something she has been able to motivate her teammates with. Her success in inspiring her teammates didn’t come easily, but it has paid dividends for the entire squad.
This year Toro is as healthy and positive as ever. Her goals this year are to reach the Sweet 16, improve her footwork, and maintain a consistent level of ferocity throughout her matches. Yaroshuk has known her now for three years as her coach. In those years she has found her to be a smart, passionate, fierce, and savvy warrior.
“Nobody walks on Mari Toro,” Yaroshuk said. “She has the heart of a champion.”
Toro is undecided about her future plans, but those who know her can be sure that whatever it is she decides to do will lead to success.
“I’m honored to have come here and played tennis,” Toro said. “I’m going to miss it.”
Kevin Michaelan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.