Her day begins when most teenagers are still fast asleep.
Jadie Acidera wakes shortly before 4 a.m. and scurries out the door by 4:30.
Her father drops Acidera and her mother off at a train station near their Anaheim home, still miles from her eventual destination, JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano.
It’s there that Acidera separates even more from her peers, especially those who play tennis.
You see, Acidera’s not just any high school tennis player, but the best in the Trinity League. She has reached the league finals in each of her three years at JSerra, winning the last two in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.
The entire time, Acidera has been making the commute from northwest Anaheim to JSerra five days a week, parting ways with her mother in San Juan Capistrano before crossing the street to a coffee shop, where she eats breakfast, touches up her homework and, shortly after 7 a.m., walks another 1 miles up Camino Capistrano to campus.
“At this point, I’m kind of used to it,” she says.
She’s also gotten used to winning.
Acidera cemented her distinction as the No. 1 girls’ tennis player in the Trinity League on Oct. 29, defending her individual singles title with a three-game victory over Kristina Breisacher of Santa Margarita. Acidera lost the first set, 2-6, before rallying to win the next two, 6-0, 6-3.
I just tried my hardest and, with my team supporting me, it was great,” she says. “There are a lot of incoming freshman that are really good and it gets tougher every year.”
Acidera and Katie Chang of Santa Margarita were highly touted freshman two years ago, going head-to-head in the league finals their first year. Chang, the niece of former French Open champion Michael Chang, defeated Acidera. As disappointing as it was, the loss just fueled Acidera’s
“I just tried working harder,” she says.
Acidera faced off against Chang again when both were sophomores, this time in the semifinals. Acidera lost the first set but came back to win the next two and advance to the final. After just 45 minutes of rest, Acidera was up against Breisacher. They split the first two games before Breisacher built a 5-2 edge in the third.
Again, Acidera dug deep and pulled out the victory in a tiebreaker.
JSerra coach Kirk Orahood is just as impressed with Acidera’s demeanor on the court, comparing her to legendary player Bjorn Borg. She’s calm and collected, not showing a hint of anger when she misplays a shot, or a glimpse of celebration when she wins a point.
Her teammates are in awe of her positive attitude, especially knowing what she endures to get to JSerra every day.
“She never complains, never seems tired,” says Zoe Kaffen, who teamed with her twin sister, Mary, to win the Trinity League doubles title the last two seasons. “She’s excited about everything, so it’s fun to be around her.”
Now it’s on to the CIF-SS individual tournament, which begins Nov. 23 at several sites.
“I want to try and make it further than I did the past two years, try to get through at least two or three rounds,” says Acidera.
Reaching her destination is something Acidera seems comfortable with. It wouldn’t be a surprise if she took it all the way.