Senior Cassidy Crawford has spent the past 10 years developing one of her greater passions in life: tennis.
Crawford, a native of Tipton, England, has been playing tennis since she was 12 years old.
Crawford said she loves that the game combines a variety of elements.
“I love how it’s not only such a physical game, but also has so much to do with mental stamina,” she said, adding that wearing the “pretty outfits” helps.
This is Crawford’s second season at UCA.
Prior to transferring to UCA before her junior season, she spent a year at North Central Texas College, where she played junior college tennis.
Crawford said the biggest reason for the transfer was the coach and the team seemed great.
“I really think it doesn’t matter where you are, as long as you have good people around you,” she said.
Crawford said the level of tennis is definitely higher at UCA.
“I loved NCTC. I had such an amazing coach and team there, but I am so lucky to have that again here at UCA,” Crawford said. “Being so far away from home, it’s so nice to have a team that’s like your second family.”
Before attending NCTC, Crawford attended Hillsborough Community College in Plant City, Florida her, freshman year.
Crawford said UCA coach Casey Wharton has had a positive impact not only on herself, but on the whole team since becoming the coach this offseason.
“He is so focused on bringing us all together as a team and a family,” she said. “Practices are so structured. As a team, we’re stronger, and I think the tennis program will improve so much because of that.”
Crawford said she has set the bar high for herself in her final season, but she wants to have fun more than anything.
“It’s my senior year, so I really want to have a good season, but more importantly to go out there and give my all and really enjoy it,” she said.
As an online journalism major and business marketing minor, Crawford plans to go to graduate school at an undetermined location, where she wants to be a graduate assistant tennis coach.
Senior Kristina Horsikyan said Crawford is one of her closest friends,on and off the court.
“She always gives 100 percent effort on the court and is fighting for every point,” she said. “She has a great personality and is always willing to help people if they need anything.”
On the season, Crawford has won three of five singles matches and has won all five doubles matches.
Junior Nataly Yoo has been Crawford’s doubles partner in all but one match when Horsikyan was her partner.
The tennis team’s last three matches were postponed or canceled, but its next match will be against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The team will continue playing in Tulsa, taking on Oral Roberts University at 10 a.m. March 10.