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Countdown: Josie Kuhlman Stays In-State at UF

Josie Kuhlman is like most young tennis players; she thought she would be a professional tennis player from the moment she first picked up a racket. Being one of the top junior players in the country and already showing promise in professional events, Kuhlman is closer to her dream than most other players.

College tennis may bring her even closer to her goal.

Josie Kuhlman is heading to Florida
"I always thought I would just play professional tennis," explained Kuhlman. "I didn't think about college until last year when looking at some schools, but I thought Florida would help me develop into a professional player as well as being a good collegiate player."

Being one of the best players in the country, Kuhlman wasn't short on options when it came to college choices.

Having just completed a successful year of playing junior tournaments and a few impressive showings in some USTA Pro Circuit events, the Florida native decided the time was right to make her commitment.

"I was mainly checking out North Carolina and Florida - and I love both programs, but Florida fit me better - being closer to home and I love all the players and coaches."

Kuhlman is from a close and big family, and while being near her home Ponte Vedra Beach wasn't the sole reason for her decision, it played a factor.

In fact, Kuhlman talked with this reporter as she was boarding a plane to Rome, Italy. She was not traveling to play in a prestigious junior tournament or train with some European coaches, but it was instead to visit her second oldest brother who is becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church and is on his way to becoming a Priest.

"I will get to hit a little on the red clay," Kulhman slyly injected into the conversation.

I asked the likeable Kuhlman if she noticed that Juan Martin Del Potro was able to meet Pope Francis this past summer while in Rome, and he presented him with a tennis racket.

"That was awesome," exclaimed Kuhlman. "I would be really excited to meet the Pope, and I don't know how I would react and what I would do."

Sports were always a family activity for the Kuhlman's.

"I have five older brothers and a younger sister and they are all athletic and we all love sports," said Kuhlman. "My brothers play basketball, but my parents play tennis - my dad played in college and my mom played."

Kuhlman said she remembers trips to the tennis courts with her siblings and parents where they would feed her ball after ball to work on her hand-eye coordination.

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Page updated on Saturday, August 30, 2014
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