Merion Mercy Academy Junior Who Fled Ukraine Is Now State Tennis Champion

girl hitting tennis ball
Image via Heather Khalifa at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sofiia Berestetska.

Sofiia Berestetska, a junior at Montgomery County’s Merion Mercy Academy, fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in late February. She and her mother eventually made their way to Philadelphia in June, where they forged a new life that now includes a significant on-court distinction. Aaron Carter served up their story in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Five months after her U.S. arrival, Berestetska — who trains at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis at the Narberth Tennis Club — is now a state tennis champion. The 16-year-old athlete won a PIAA Class 2A tennis championship in doubles earlier this month.

“She’s definitely a courageous young woman,” said Berestetska’s older sister, Ksenia Power. “She’s very resilient.”

When Berestetska joined Merion Mercy, the school knew little about the new student, other than that she played piano and tennis. Nobody knew how exceptional she was at sports.

It became obvious once Berestetska and her teammate, Ashley Gomes, won the PIAA Class 2A doubles championship without having dropped a set during the competition.

This Thanksgiving, the teen had plenty to be thankful for.

“I’m very thankful for my family and my American family, too,” Berestetska said. “I’m very thankful for my sister and my mom. I’m thankful for Merion Mercy because they took me in, and I’m thankful for the coaches at Legacy.”

Read more about Sofiia Berestetska in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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