After graduating this past weekend, Kelsey Semrod '12, captain and four-year starter on the women's tennis team, looks back on her athletic career at Trinity.
(Q&A conducted by Jack Owens '13)
Q: Your team started the year unranked but finished at a very respectable 19th in the nation. What do you think was responsible for this great leap?
A: I think our ranking of 19th in the nation is due to the dedication of each member of our team. Our top eight this year remained the same as last year, but each girl really stepped it up and played much better this season. We worked very hard to reach top 20 in the nation.
Q: What aspect of your game has improved the most over your Trinity career?
A: My mental game has improved over the past 4 years. Freshmen year I was much more tentative. In my senior year, I knew these matches were the last of my career so I made sure to not let nerves get in the way.
Q: Considering the mental aspects of tennis, is there anything you do to calm yourself down when matches become particularly heated?
A: Many times in matches, I play better when I am losing. It's the 'nothing to lose' attitude. If I am in a heated tiebreaker or a gruelling third set, I try to convince myself that I have nothing to lose, and there is no point in being tentative.
Q: How did the role of being the team captain change your approach to this season? Did it motivate you to move up to your spot at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles?
A: As captain, I wanted to make sure the team was in sync and that everyone wanted to achieve the same high level of play. We had team dinners every night in Mather, got together on weekends, and made sure to cheer extremely loud on the court for each other.
Q: As the only senior on the team, who do you think will step in for you next year and assume the leadership role?
A: The incoming Seniors, Hillary Hoyt and Frances Cameron, will be taking on the captain spots for next year. Hillary and Frances are great tennis players and leaders. I know they will help the team becoming even better next year.
Q: From my experience in Intermediate Tennis class with coach Wendy Bartlett, I've learned that she likes to emphasize the slice serve as well as serve consistency. Has coach Bartlett ever shown her displeasure with you or your teammates for double faulting, or tried to change your serve in an extreme way?
A: Wendy has always been intent on us serving with more spin and pace. I will say, in doubles practice we run suicides for double faulting. But it makes us stay focused and definitely helps during matches.
Q: How did you start becoming interested in Tennis, and how extensive is your experience playing the sport?
A: I started playing tennis when I was little, just for fun. I became serious when I was about 14. I was late to the competitive part of the sport, but once I started playing tournaments in high school and traveled around the country, I was hooked.
Q: Would you say your more of a Martina Sharapova or a Martina Hingis? Why? Are there any professionals that you model your game after?
A: I have to say I am more of a Hingis. A lot of my tennis strategy comes from hitting baseline drives and then a drop shot, making my opponent come to net. By mixing it up, it is harder for my opponent to get in a rhythm and I am told that my game is frustrating.
Q: Do you ever play Mario Tennis or other tennis video games?
A: I never played Mario tennis. But I played Wii tennis once. I'm not very good... My friends think its hilarious that they can beat me in tennis video games.