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Gibbs Welcomes Return to Stanford
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While the vast majority of the players at the USTA Girls' 16 & 18 Nationals were either looking at colleges for the future or getting ready to start their freshman year, Nicole Gibbs was preparing to return to Stanford University for her sophomore year.

Stanford sophomore and Girls' 18 Finalist Nicole Gibbs
© Marcia Frost, College And Junior Tennis
Last year, as a 17-year-old, Gibbs' decision to attend Stanford was not a long-term plan, nor was it entered into lightly,

"I went to a pretty academically-challenging middle school when I lived in Cleveland, Ohio," she explained, "so when I moved to California I was already ahead with some of my high school credits. We were kind of looking into the idea of skipping tenth grade for me after my freshman year with taking a year off after high school in mind. I could go to college with my peers, with kids my ages and so I wouldn't feel uncomfortable."

The talented Gibbs excelled at junior events and competed professionally, and she considered skipping college altogether. But in the end, she and her family did not think turning professional was in her best interests.

"When I finished up high school in 2010, I didn't have the results on the tour that I was looking for. I thought a year in college for development would be a really good idea."

After Gibbs made the decision to sign with Stanford, she still played the circuit. She won a 50K USTA Professional Circuit event with now teammate Kristie Ahn, but she realized that wasn't enough to build a professional career.

"I ended up having a really great summer last summer. I went into college with a lot of confidence - which translated into my college season."

The 2010-11 season would be an outstanding one for Nicole Gibbs. She helped her team to the NCAA Championship final and earned All-American status by making it to the semifinals of the singles event, where she fell to eventual winner Jana Juricova - in a match that went three sets. Gibbs finished the year with 40 wins to her credit and a national ranking of 12 in the nation.

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