Countdown: Lilienthal Commits to Cornell's Big Red
by Clair Maciel, 4 April 2017
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When it came to finalizing her decision on a college commitment, senior 5-Star Recruit Cheyenne Lilienthal certainly had her pick of some of the top universities in the country. After visiting all of the Ivy League schools, the 17-year-old from Land O' Lakes, Fla., took her time weighing her options before finally announcing that she would commit to Cornell University's Big Red tennis team.
In addition to falling in love with the Cornell campus, Lilienthal said it was the persistence of the tennis coaching staff and their strong interest in her that helped sway her decision over other college potentials like Harvard, Yale and Penn.
"When I played in the Clay Court Nationals in Tennessee, coach Mike (Stevens) from Cornell stayed and watched 4 of my matches start to finish at 3 different sites, including one that match that lasted four hours," she recalls. "Mike showed a strong interest in me which I really appreciated, and his persistence in recruiting me was a huge weighing factor for me; I felt he really wanted me to be apart of the team, so it made it really easy to commit to such an amazing university and team. Not only that but the campus is gorgeous, and after meeting the team during my visit there, I thought the girls were amazing and I'm so excited to start training and competing with all of them."
At the beginning of her college decision process, Lilienthal considered all aspects of what she wanted in a future school, and academics weighed just as heavily in that balance as did a strong tennis program. Her aspirations of studying Pre-Med and pursuing a career as an ER trauma surgeon led her to Cornell, an institution predominantly known for its academic strength in the sciences.
"I would consider myself to be a diligent, hard-working student, and academics have always been a top priority to me," she said. "I wanted to find a good balance between being able to play D-I tennis and having a great education, and Cornell fit that balance very well."
The 5'10" right-hander's junior career began when she moved from Pennsylvania to Florida several years ago to pursue a more competitive level in tennis. In addition to being a skilled double partner, she has ranked as high as No. 7 in Florida, 61 in the Nation and in the top 500 of the ITF rankings, with singles and doubles titles in National Level 5, Level 4, Level 3 and Level 2 events. Twice she has reached the semifinals of an ITF event, and she was a doubles finalist in an ITF tournament in Bermuda. Her forward-playing net game suits the indoor courts, which will serve her well when playing in the northeastern states during winter. And it will certainly be an advantage for a Big Red team that finished second in the Ivy League in 2016.