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College Spotlight: Mary Weatherholt, Memphis/Nebraska

January 14, 2014 11:22 AM
Mary Weatherholt is serving as an assistant volunteer coach at Memphis this season.
Weatherholt joins Memphis Head Coach Lee Taylor Walker (far left) and Assistant Coach Ben Stapp on court.
Weatherholt is the first player in Nebraska history to win a combined 200 matches in singles and doubles.

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Mary Weatherholt capped off a phenomenral four-year career at the University of Nebraska last spring by reaching the 2013 NCAA singles final and becoming the first player in Nebraska history to earn singles All-America honors. A two-time Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Year, Weatherholt finished her NU career as the all-time leader in career combined wins, career singles wins, career singles winning percentage, season combined victories, season singles winning percentage and season singles victories. She is also the only player in school history to win a combined 200 matches in singles and doubles.

In addition to her many on-court accomplishments, Weatherhold received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the second straight season in 2013, as well as the Big Ten Medal of Honor Award, the ITA Central Region and National Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award and the ITA Scholar-Athlete Award. A four-time Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award winner, she recently received one of the biggest honors in all of college sports when she was selected as one of NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award recipients, which recognizes student-athletes for their successes on the field and court, in the classroom and in the community.

Weatherholt, a native of Prairie Village, Kan., is now continuing her involvenment in college tennis as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Memphis for the 2013-14 season. She recently took time to answer questions in the latest USTA.com College Spotlight.

USTA.com: You had so many accomplishments during your time at Nebraska, both on and off the court, from receiving academic honors to winning sportsmanship awards to your outstanding play for the Huskers women’s team. What would you say is the one thing you are most proud of from your time in college?

Mary Weatherholt: Looking back on all five years, I'd have to say it was most awesome how we really came together as a team my last two seasons and especially this very last one. When you genuinely care about each other, have fun and achieve goals together as a team, that's incomparable to any individual accomplishment. Memories for a lifetime!

USTA.com: You recently received one of the highest honors bestowed upon college athletes in any sport – being named one of the NCAA’s Top 10 student-athletes in the country. Can you talk about what that means to you?

MW: It's such an honor to be able to represent the University of Nebraska, and the award is also very humbling. None of the accomplishments could have happened on my own, so I'm just very grateful for the talents and opportunities God gave me and especially for my family, friends, coaches, teammates and everyone in the athletic department.

USTA.com: What has it been like to move from a star player on Nebraska's women's tennis team to a volunteer assistant coach at Memphis this season?

MW: I, of course, really miss Nebraska, but it's been an awesome transition. I'm part of a great community and team, have grown so much in my walk with The Lord and learned a lot about coaching. I wouldn't change anything about this past summer/fall and upcoming spring. Go Tigers!

USTA.com: Do you feel you are able to give the players any special insight, since you are just coming out of college?

MW: It helps having just finished college tennis because everything is still so fresh in my mind, but you'd have to ask the girls on the team if the insights are helpful or not.

USTA.com: What is your favorite aspect of college tennis?

MW: Team dual matches when they are tied at 3-3.

USTA.com: What advice do you have for junior tennis players who want to play in college?

MW: Trust God, enjoy each moment you get to play tennis and focus on working hard and improving every day. That'd be my advice for players at any level.

USTA.com: Can you describe the experience you had when you went through the recruiting process? How did you narrow your college search?

MW: I went about it differently than most. I took an unofficial visit to Nebraska the September of my junior year and committed a week later. The coaches had great values, I really liked the girls on the team and I just knew it was the right place for me when I was there. It worked out perfectly for me. Husker for life! GBR (Go Big Red)!

USTA.com: What are your plans for the future? Will you continue on in tennis for the foreseeable future, whether in coaching or playing on the pro circuit?

MW: I tore my left ACL and meniscus in October, but I committed to playing the pro circuit for a year, so I'll rehab as best and fast as I can and stick with that plan. Come June, I'll reevaluate. I'm also loving the coaching side of tennis, so that's definitely a strong possibility. I'm really open to whatever opportunities arise and seeing where God leads me from there.



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