Cubs before Cougs: Jaque Dunyon and Bobo Huang’s rise to BYU glory
What does it take to be a BYU athlete?
Jaque Dunyon and Yujia (Bobo) Huang have been playing for the BYU women’s tennis team for the past three years. Now, they’re sharing stories of how hard work, passion, and practice as cubs led them to be Cougars.
Bobo’s experiences as a cub
Growing up in China, Bobo started playing tennis when she was only six years old. “When I first started, my dad was the one that got me into it.”
After several years of coaching and training with her father, 12-year-old Bobo enrolled in a professional tennis club in China.
At the club, she would practice for more than 30 hours per week. For the next six years, she trained and practiced for more than six hours a day until meeting the BYU women’s tennis coach.
“I met Holly in China, she came to recruit,” Bobo said. “That’s how I learned about BYU… and that’s why I’m here.”
Last year, Bobo played number 1 singles and doubles for the women’s team. “I used to prefer doubles better… but my singles got better and I feel like I got into it more.”
Becoming a professional has always been a goal for Bobo, but for now, she loves playing at BYU.
“I just enjoy competing. And also being on a college team, you’re playing as a team instead of an individual… you get to cheer your teammates on, and when you lose a match other girls have your back.”
This year, Bobo has been playing in professional tournaments and is currently ranked professionally in singles as number 797 in the world.
For anyone who wants to pursue tennis or play any college sport, Bobo says one of the most important tips to progress from cubs to cougs is to build your self-confidence.
“Don’t give up. Believe that you can do anything you want to do.”
Jaque’s journey from Cub to Coug
Growing up an hour-and-a-half from BYU, Jaque’s life in Huntsville, Utah, was filled with a passion for tennis.
“It was the funnest thing in the world,” she reminisces. “I loved it”
Like Bobo, Jaque started playing tennis at only six years old with her father as her coach.
“My dad has always been my coach, so me and him would travel all over the country playing tournaments, training… Tennis has always been my favorite thing.”
Her practice schedule included three to five hours of practice every day with a minimum of one hour in the gym, working on a mixture of cardio and strength training.
Traveling tournaments and an intense practice schedule led Jaque to begin online school in seventh grade to allow for more time on the court and at tournaments.
“I didn’t really have a big social life, my tennis friends have always been my best friends, so I would just count that as hanging out with my friends.”
Jaque’s hours of hard work and practice earned her various honors and awards, including winning a gold ball in juniors, becoming a 3 time 6A state champion, and a blue chip recruit.
“I was a blue chip recruit in high school, which means I was top 10 in the nation for my age, which was pretty cool.”
Last year at BYU, Jaque played mostly number 3 singles and number 1 doubles, finishing the 2022-23 season 13 – 4 in singles and 9 – 6 in doubles.
She says her favorite part of being at BYU are her teammates.
“They’re my best friends.”
For all young athletes who are looking to play tennis or any college sport, Jaque says effort is key to go from cubs to cougs.
“Put in the work, because it’s not going to just be given to you. You have to work really hard for it.”