MAY 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

High School All-American Enjoys ‘Individual Responsibility’ of Tennis

Demarest, NJ: Patti Gorsuch, the director of athletics at the Academy of the Holy Angels, has announced that Ashley Hess was named a National High School Tennis All-American. Hess is being honored for excellence on the tennis court and within the classroom, where she maintains a top grade point average.

This season, Hess won the large school first singles Bergen County Championship and was an individual finalist in the state tournament, where she was the #2 seed. In October 2017, she was named The Record’s Female Athlete of the Week. She plays for AHA Tennis Coach Jessica Leto.

“One of the main reasons I chose tennis as my sport is because of the individual responsibility,” the Cedar Grove resident explained. “I love tennis because I have total control over how I practice, perform, and handle myself on the court. Win or lose, only I know whether I gave it my all and what I can do to improve.”

Hess noted, “Natural talent can only take you so far in tennis. It takes a lot of hard work to compete at a high level! During the summer, I play three to six hours of tennis every day, and I play between one-and-a-half to two hours every night during the school year. During high school season, I often practice for up to two hours more after my matches.”

This dedicated athlete’s love for her sport began early. Her mother had played tennis in high school, and the family enjoyed following the pros. Together, they regularly attended the U.S. Open in New York.

“I would always be in awe of the power, movement, and coordination of the professionals,” Hess recalled.

She started taking tennis lessons at age four. A few years later, Hess gave up her basketball, ballet, and piano lessons to concentrate on competitive tennis.
“While I always loved being active and participating in sports in general, I was always happiest when I was playing tennis, and I found that I was the most motivated to improve my tennis game.”

Although Hess just completed an outstanding season, she said she was surprised to hear about her honor from the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation.

“Mrs. Gorsuch emailed me during the school day that she had some important news to share, and I honestly had no idea what it was about. It feels amazing to receive such an honor!”

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. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


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