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Freshman Year: Four Players Tell About Their First Year Playing College Tennis

Anticipation is often as clear as fear when you enter a university for your freshman year. This can even be more difficult when you are playing college tennis. You are joining a group whom you will be with most of your waking hours. You will also be adjusting to the new "parent" figures in your life - your coaches.

I asked four players from different schools to tell about the good, the bad and the surprising things they learned while completing their freshman year.


Breaunna Addison, University of Texas

It was quite a freshman year for Breaunna Addison. The Florida resident became only the third Longhorn to make the semifinals of NCAA Singles Championships, joining Beverly Bowes (1986) and Kelly Pace (1993 & 1995). She was also the ITA Texas Region Rookie of the Year and the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year.


Krista Hardebeck, Stanford University

Krista Hardebeck experienced the thrill of winning the NCAA team title as a freshman. She was instrumental in that win having brought the Cardinal to the finals with a big comeback win in the team semis. As one of the most highly sought-after Blue Chips last year, the Southern Californian finished her junior career with a semifinal berth at the Australian Open Junior Championships.


Jared Hiltzik, University of Illinois

Jared Hiltzik played his way to the No. 1 spot on the Fighting Illini team. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was the only player who defeated NCAA champion Blaz Rola. Hiltzik didn't have to travel far to go to school as he grew up only a few hours away in Wilmette. He was coached in the juniors by former Illini Billy Heiser and led the 18s by reaching at least semis in every National he competed in.


Mac Styslinger, University of Virginia

Mac Stylslinger certainly left his freshman year on a high note. After the Wahoos won the NCAA Men's Team Championship, he teamed with Jarmere Jenkins to take home a doubles trophy. He also received accolades as the ITA Atlantic Region Rookie of the Year. Wins are not new for the 6'4 Alabama native, who had made it to the top 30 of the ITF Junior rankings before heading to the University of Virginia.


Q) When you got to school, was it what you expected?


Breaunna Addison (BA):

I didn't have the opportunity to play over the summer and fall because I had to retake three courses in order to be eligible. It was pretty rough coming in because I wasn't in the best shape and I wasn't playing a lot of tennis, but I think my teammates helped me adapt well. Sometimes I just needed to take a day off, or take it easy on the court. They were really understanding when that happened. That was key to my successes.


Krista Hardebeck (KH):

I honestly did not have any expectations going into freshman year. Going to college is a dramatic lifestyle change, so getting better or worse varies from person to person. I tried to keep in mind that either could happen to me. Luckily, I ended up having a pretty successful freshman year.


Jared Hiltzik (JH):

I think that my first year at Illinois exceeded my expectations. The first month or two was very hard for me - balancing school and tennis, but by the end of the year I could not be happier with where I ended up. I give my coaches a lot of props to getting me through my rough patch.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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