By: Shelby Soltau '16
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With four seniors graduating from the team this year, the women's tennis team is looking to younger members to fill big shoes. Freshman Chelby Cooke (CC) has played at the No. 4 singles position for the Broncos recording a 13-7 record during the 2012-13 season. For her efforts, she was named WCC Honorable Mention for her singles play.
SantaClaraBroncos.com recently talked to Cooke about her impressive first year on the team and her close relationship with the graduating seniors.
SCB: How is your freshman year both on and off the tennis court so far?
CC: My freshman year went by extremely fast, but I am proud of how much I was able to accomplish. I came to Santa Clara post-back surgery so I had to do physical therapy during fall quarter and sit out until January. Coming back from an injury is difficult in any sport, but I was able to regain confidence and keep improving as the season progressed. I've had a great support system from my family, the team, and the coaches to help my make the transition into such a demanding schedule a lot easier. I was able to do very well in the classroom as well. I got a 4.0 in Winter quarter which is the time I began playing for the team full time. I have an on-campus job as well so time management plays a large part in my success this year. I have to be disciplined to be prepared on and off the court.
SCB: What is your relationship like with the seniors on the team? What will you miss most?
The seniors will be missed very much! They have brought the women's tennis program so far in the four years they have been here. They are each so different, but have acted as good examples and role models in their own ways. They genuinely care about the team's success after they leave, and I have no doubt they will be back to support us. At our team banquet, we were shown a video that was comprised of different moments and times throughout the season. It's really hard to think that next year almost half the team will be gone, but the memories we've made are irreplaceable and that is something we can all take away once they are gone.
SCB: What do you feel was your best performance of the year?
There really isn't a specific performance that stands out to me. I try to play each match with the same intensity and expect the same outcome no matter who I'm playing. Losing is very disappointing no matter who I'm playing or how good they are. My first couple matches were a little shaky and I'm always worried about disappointing the other girls and the coaches, so I would say once I got comfortable and started winning matches consequently and began building my record is when I started to be confident in my playing and performing like I know I can.
SCB: Talk about receiving All-WCC honors for singles this year. What does this mean to you?
I have a hard time giving myself credit for things I accomplish, but I am definitely thankful and proud to be acknowledged by the WCC with the Honorable Mention award. This award shows me that I am capable of competing with the top players in the conference after coming off a serious injury, and I'm glad I can be a reflection of the coaching and staff that played a role in my success this season.
SCB: What is your favorite memory of the season?
Favorite Memory...that's hard. We spend SO much time together. I would say the road trips are always the best part!
SCB: How do you hope to improve for next season?
Because we are losing four starting players, our team is going to have to adapt to fill their positions. For next year, I hope to be able to step up my fitness and overall game to be able to compete at a higher spot in the line-up if that is what is needed from me.