Former Maranatha student Tenaya Phillips has been on quite a unique journey since she graduated in 2012. A gifted athlete and musician during her high school days, Tenaya has carried on those qualities in her professional and personal endeavours that started during her days at the Cardinia Campus.
Alongside her twin sister, Kiara, the Phillips girls were known for their incredible basketball and talent, having played together at the Dandenong Rangers for several years. While Kiara set off to pursue her dreams of collegiate basketball in the USA, Tenaya stayed in Australia and chased the sporting and music opportunities that came her way.
Continuing her career with her childhood club, Tenaya gradually progressed through the junior ranks at Dandenong and made herself a standout with the Rangers’ SEABL side (South East Australian Basketball League). Playing with and against a myriad of top talent in the country, Tenaya was a key figure in her SEABL side’s threepeat success between 2010 and 2012, a rare feat in basketball or any sporting code.
Tenaya’s style and athleticism were not to go unnoticed as she earned a spot at representative level, taking part in the Victorian Metro side at the national championships for the under 16s, 18s and 20s, and held a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in 2011.
In 2012, she also participated at the FIBA Oceania Under-17 and Under-19 Championships in New Caledonia and New Zealand
respectively, where she was a major contributor in the Australian teams winning gold in both tournaments.
Her impressive skillset and determination saw her progress to the Dandenong Rangers WNBL senior team, the top division for professional basketball players in Australia. Her performances caught the eyes of other clubs as she left Dandenong after 3 years with the senior team, and signed with the Frankston Blues for the 2016 and 2017 SEABL winter seasons.
Not only was the superstar sensation named captain of the Blues in her second season, she was also snapped up by WNBL powerhouse Perth Lynx for the 2016-17 WNBL summer season in her first professional environment outside Dandenong. Having had a successful winter season with the Blues, Tenaya decided to take her talent elsewhere in 2018 signing with a Big V team called the Waverley Falcons.
Tenaya doesn’t find herself limited to one sport. During her 2016 season with Frankston, she expanded her sporting horizons trying her hand at VFL Women for the Eastern Devils. Her basketball skills and awareness gave her the athletic edge she needed to deal with the physical rigours on a football field.
Tenaya competitive nature and physical attributes helped to develop her love for the Australian game, fitting in seamlessly as a midfielder, centre half forward and forward. 2018 was a season off for her, but it didn't stop her all together.
If her sporting achievements weren’t enough, Tenaya is also coaching as part of the sports program at Haileybury, one of the top private schools in Melbourne. She is now passing on her knowledge and love for basketball to young, aspiring athletes as well as helping to contribute to Haileybury’s high standards of teaching and coaching.
Tenaya was invited to join the Western Bulldogs at a training session for their VFLW side in preparation for the next AFLW season. Ben Black a huge support in Tenaya's journey, is looking forward to seeing what she can do in the league.
019 Tenaya has signed with the Southern Sabres for the new NBL1 league.
Off the sporting fields, it’s no secret that Tenaya loves her music. She first discovered her love for the trumpet through Maranatha’s music program in 2007. Playing her way through the orchestral band and progressing to the school’s jazz band, what started as a requirement turned into a full-blown passion.
Playing the trumpet also gave her a platform to introduce a whole new area of worship to Urban Praise, a gospel church that reaches out to the community in several different ways such as preaching singing, dancing and music. They feature performances by local talent as well as renowned international guests. Founded by Tenaya’s parents, music director Jerome and Pastor Jenny Phillips, Urban Praise is a major part of Tenaya’s life.
Thanks to Tenaya’s passion and influence, Urban Praise now features a whole woodwind and brass section in their services. The horns are led by former Army Major Peter Grant, who runs the Distance Learning Programme for the Defence Force School of Music.
Tenaya’s musical impact doesn’t stop there. When she received a call back from Maranatha to teach music students, she jumped at the chance to give back to the school that gave her the foundations of her musical love. She is now passing on 10 years of knowledge onto the next generation of budding MCS musicians, and continues to play the trumpet to this day.
To add to her life passions, Tenaya has also taken pride in her newly created clothing line, TEP. The short hand stands for “To Encourage People”, the clothing style aims to inspire with a simple but bold nature. The clothing line has been a long time in the making, but Tenaya has no shortage of demand with friends, family and teammates all interested in helping her succeed and expand.