Countdown: Bruins Beckon Bolton
by Colette Lewis
, 21 October 2016
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Elysia Bolton has nearly two years of junior tennis remaining, but the 16-year-old blue chip already knows the location of the next stage of her career: the UCLA campus in Westwood.
Bolton, currently No. 7 in the Tennis Recruiting Network's Babolat 2018 class rankings, took unofficial visits to UCLA
, North Carolina
and Southern California
this summer, but she had begun the recruiting process long before that.
"Ever since freshman year, I've been studying schools, so once I got to junior year I'd be ready," said Bolton, who will enroll at UCLA in the fall of 2018. "I just wanted to make sure the schools that I wanted to go to wanted me. That was a little nerve-racking, but once I figured out that they wanted me, it made me feel better. The school had to have good academics and have a really good tennis program, so all the schools I looked at were really great in all aspects."
So what tipped the scales in favor of UCLA?
"I really like the campus there and I love the coaches," Bolton said of head coach Stella Sampras Webster and associate head coach Rance Brown. "My [USTA] coach Erik Kortland just moved out there, and said, 'I want you to come to California so you can train with me as well', so that was also a big factor."
Bolton is committed to playing professional tennis after college, so the success of former Bruin teammates Robin Anderson (WTA 214) and Jennifer Brady (WTA 113) also made an impression on her.
"They've had such a great program with girls coming in and doing really well," Bolton said. "Jennifer Brady's doing amazing right now."
On the academic side of the ledger, Bolton is interested in studying law, with UCLA's reputation in that curriculum also playing a role.