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Commitment Announcement
Countdown: Maria Smith Heads to Berkeley
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Maria Smith, who has spent short stretches over the past few years in the Golden State for tennis training, will call California home for the next four years, starting in January 2016.

Maria Smith has committed to California
The senior from Houston, Texas, is graduating a semester early and will join the Golden Bears of the University of California, Berkeley.

"It's an outstanding school," she said. "I knew in my heart that Cal was the best place for me to grow as a person, as a student and as a tennis player. It was pretty obvious that it was the place for me."

As she came closer to completing the requirements for her high school diploma from Texas Connections Academy, Smith started seriously looking at college options.

In late July while Smith was playing the sectional junior Fed Cup competition in Claremont, Cal Assistant Coach Zack Warren watched the teenager play. A few weeks later at the National Hard Courts in San Diego, Coach Warren once again was on hand for Smith's matches. Phone conversations ensued and before an unofficial visit could be scheduled, Coach Amanda Augustus herself visited with the blue chip recruit in Houston.

"I really appreciated her honesty, and I felt she understood how I can improve my game," Smith said.

On October 1st, father and daughter flew out to Berkeley.

"There was such a powerful vibe of excitement about learning that I felt while I was there," Smith reflected. "I felt very welcome. All the people I met were very classy and genuine. Before my dad and I left the campus, the coaches told me that I was a great fit for their program, and Coach Amanda officially offered me the scholarship. Dad and I returned to Houston on the third, and on the fifth I called Coach Amanda and accepted the scholarship."

Smith, a regular fixture at national and international tennis competitions, has trained at the USTA High Performance facilities in Boca Raton, Florida, and Carson, California.

At an early age, her athleticism was already noteworthy - not just in tennis, but in track and field as well.

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