Lady Tiger Courtney Collins To Represent Team USA
Nov. 30, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--Next summer, Courtney Collins will travel outside the United States for the first time. A native of Fulton, Miss., she is one of only five Division I women's tennis players selected to be on the U.S. national team, which is set to compete at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China, from Aug. 12-23, 2011.
"I've already got my passport," said Collins, a sophomore on the Memphis women's tennis team.
At the end of her freshman season with the Lady Tigers, Collins got in touch with Team USA's head coach, Ryan Freeman, a veteran tennis player and coach in Denver, and expressed why she should be chosen. Collins knew she would have to deliver a strong pitch.
"I was kind of a wild card because everyone else is ranked, even the alternate is ranked," Collins explained. "But I told him I'll be ranked before we leave for China."
It was a big-time promise with an even bigger payoff. Collins earned a spot on the limited roster.
"One thing he said was that he liked I was from the South, that I said yes sir and no sir a lot," Collins said with a laugh. "But he also said he liked my ambition and how I really wanted to be here and play hard for it."
That hard work can be seen in her results. Collins recorded big wins over players from North Carolina, Ohio State, Illinois, and Virginia at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Summer National Championships. In fall tournaments this season, Collins upended two nationally-ranked players, as well as other top players from programs such as Kentucky and Louisville.
"Courtney has proven this past year that she can beat anybody on any given day," Memphis head women's tennis coach Lee Taylor Walker said. "Her motivation and work ethic has doubled since she was chosen and I see her determination to help the U.S. win the gold."
Collins also made program history this October as the first Lady Tiger to be invited to the ITA All-American Championships. All of these are great accomplishments, but Collins admits she still has a long way to go with her game before going overseas.
"I don't want to get over there and have them think, `oh, that was a mistake, we should have chosen someone else,'" Collins said. "I want to take advantage of this opportunity."
The rest of the women's team is composed of Aeriel Ellis and Krista Damico from University of Texas, McCall Jones from UCLA, and Maria Sanchez from USC. On the men's side are Michael Sicora and Phillip Arndt both from the University of Minnesota and Eric Quigely from the University of Kentucky, along with Gregory Hirshman from Stanford, who was recently named team captain. That tennis roster will join over 9,000 student-athletes from 174 different countries competing in the Summer Games.
"Their team is made up of some very gifted players," Coach Walker said. "A lot of thanks goes to Coach Freeman for recognizing and choosing Courtney to be a member of the team."