PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Julia Wojtowicz says being on a tennis court is where she gets her release from the pressures of high school.

“I’ve been through a lot of things in high school,” said Wojtowicz. “Extra-curricular activities, grades to worry about. I don’t feel as much pressure as I should here. Feels great.”

She moved to Peoria from New York in the summer of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. And had to be talked into trying out for the Richwoods tennis team by her aunt.

But she’s been the No. 1 player for the Knights since she came to town and celebrated her 100th career varsity victory a couple weeks ago.

“I’m extremely proud of the attitude she’s had and her growth the past four years. Quiet kid, you learn something new every day,” said Richwoods tennis coach Terry Cole. “I didn’t know she was flying with her dad.”

Her father, who was born in Poland, is a helicopter pilot and flight instructor.

“He’s eligible to teach me how to fly so I’ve been flying the mini-Cessna around,” Wojtowicz said with a smile. “But I haven’t done it in a couple months.”

The 100 wins at the No. 1 position on a high school tennis team is impressive. But Wojtowicz is perhaps more impressed by her weighted 4.7 grade point average in the Richwoods International Baccalaureate Program.

However the tennis and softball athlete says she’s closing the book on her competitive sports career so she can concentrate on getting a college degree, perhaps in biochemistry or business. So her senior year playing sports is bittersweet.

“I’ve played tennis my whole life, since I was three,” Wojtowicz said. “It’s scary I’m ending this off right now. Academics kind of took over that.”