Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Top College Players on Their Plans for This Fall and Beyond

My recap of the American Collegiate Invitational will be out Friday at the Tennis Recruiting Network, and I will provide photos and quotes from the eight men who participated in the event two weeks ago in New York then.

In today's post, I'll update the plans and provide quotes from the eight women who competed in the second annual ACI. Four have completed their eligibility and four are still in school.

Josie Kuhlman
Kuhlman, a sophomore at Florida, said she will be playing next month's All-American Championships in California, and hopes to mix in some pro events this fall to keep her WTA ranking up.  Quote on Florida's prospects for the 2015-16 season:  "We have most of the team returning, so we’re really excited to keep working toward our goal of a national championship."

Julia Elbaba
Julia Elbaba, a senior at Virginia, said she is planning on playing the fall majors, and after graduation, will play the professional circuit full time. On playing in New York, near her home, defending USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate champion Elbaba said: "I love playing here, at any opportunity, indoor or outdoor."

Maegan Manasse
Manasse, a junior at Cal, has all the collegiate majors on her schedule this fall. She did not play the US Open in the juniors, so was excited to get the opportunity to compete in the ACI. "When I came here Tuesday night and saw the lights on Arthur Ashe, I thought, whoa, I’m finally here. Having credentials, getting in everywhere, it’s crazy. It’s been a great experience."

Brooke Austin
Austin, a sophomore at Florida, is planning on playing the All-American Championships and returning to New York for the Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. Although she had played the US Open four times as a junior and twice in the women's qualifying, she is still impressed by the scene at the National Tennis Center. "I’ve been here a lot of times, but it’s always really exciting and a cool experience. Every year I’m always like, oh my god."

Julia Jones
Jones, who graduated from Ole Miss this summer, said she is planning to play all fall, probably exclusively in the United States. A wild card, she won her first round at this week's $75,000 Albuquerque tournament today, beating Alexandra Stevenson 6-2, 6-3.  Jones had never been to the Open prior to the ACI.  "This is my first time at the Open and it’s pretty cool to be playing there your first time, not watching. I was so happy. It was just the icing on the cake to a really good senior year."

Lauren Herring
Herring, who graduated from Georgia this spring, is planning to return to the Pro Circuit the first of October.  To help with the financial challenges of starting out on the pro tour, Herring has turned to GoFundMe.com. "It was amazing to see the support I got from the people from my hometown that I hadn’t spoken to in years, the encouragement they gave me. It was a little weird at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but I had to get over it to look for help. And it has helped, paid for some of my tournaments."

Chanelle Van Nguyen
Van Nguyen started at UCLA in January of 2012, so she has not yet completed her degree, which she wants to do before going out on the pro tour.  "I have another year of school left, and I can’t compete, but I’m training with the team, fitness and stuff, and I’ll be helping out. And then when I graduate, I’ll be able to play tournaments full time. It’s tough during school, but that’s the plan."

Robin Anderson
Anderson, who graduated from UCLA this summer with a degree in Anthropology, qualified and won her first round today at the $75,000 Albuquerque tournament. Her results during the Pro Circuit this summer were encouraging, but didn't lead her to any specific goals. "I don’t really have any expectations.  Right now I’m just trying to work every day to see how good I can be."  Anderson also admitted leaving the team atmosphere isn't easy. "Not having all your teammates and your coaches there along side you is a little bit difficult. It's kind of like the juniors now, or when I played Pro Circuit before I went to school. It's all on you now, so I'm learning to get back to that."