• School: Sayre School
• Grade: 11th • Sport: Tennis
• Academics: Julian has a 4.21 GPA, is an award-winning writer, plays classical piano, speaks fluent Cantonese and is taking three A.P. classes this year.
• Parents: Miranda & Jay
Julian Mok, a 16-year-old honor student at Sayre School, takes the thinking person’s approach to tennis.
Which is bad news for her opponents, because she brings plenty of brain power to her game.
Julian posted a 4.21 GPA as a sophomore in a course load that included honors pre-calculus, chemistry and A.P. science.
This year, she’s enrolled in three A.P. classes – calculus, chemistry and English – plus honors creative writing, U.S. History and French IV, which makes her quite the linguist.
As an infant, she emigrated with her family from Hong Kong to the U.S., and she speaks fluent Cantonese.
But she prides herself on being impossible to translate on the tennis court, where she maintains a calm, impenetrable demeanor.
“If you get flustered you can’t think straight and you make silly mistakes,” she said. “Plus, your opponents can’t read you.
“I like tennis because you have to depend on yourself, and it’s like a puzzle. You have to go out there and analyze your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and then play in a way to expose the weaknesses.”
Based on her record, she’s figured out most of her foes.
In the spring, she was undefeated at Sayre until the State quarterfinals, winning the Regional championship along the way. As a freshman, she was second in the Region and advanced to the round of 16 in the State.
She plays on the U.S.T.A. circuit out of Lexington Tennis Club and has been ranked No. 1 in the state in every age group. Currently, she is playing up in the 18s and is ranked second.
Every year since 2007, she has been chosen for the Kentucky state team that plays in the annual Southern Cup in Chattanooga.
“I like team events,” she said. “You get support from teammates.”
Julian needs little support in the classroom.
“She is hard-working, talented and very intelligent,” her father Jay said.
Added her mother Miranda: “Julian is 100% focused in the classroom, which makes school easier. She is very competitive and self-motivated.”
Does that sound right, Julian? “Oh yeah, I am very determined, very competitive. I like to achieve things.”
That she does. She has played classical piano since she was 4, earning honors at National Federation of Music Club festivals. Her newest hobby is photography, and she’s an avid reader and creative writer.
She won school-wide awards in poetry and personal narrative and was Sayre’s only student to win a Hollins University Book Award.
With skills in so many areas, it’s not surprising that West Point has shown interest in her as a student and college tennis player.
The U.S. Military Academy could do worse than picking someone as talented as Julian.