Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Building over break

Frank Barnes
UW-Whitewater’s men’s and women’s tennis team and families posing for a group picture after their scrimmage against Carleton College in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

College athletes nationwide feel the effects of being away from family over the years. A 22-hour bus ride for UW-Whitewater’s men’s and women’s tennis teams provided an opportunity to relax with their tennis family. 

Embarking on their annual spring break trip, this year in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, the comradery that follows brings the team even closer together. 

“I always tell them, ‘Once you get to know somebody, you’re gonna end up liking them,’” said head coach Frank Barnes. “You really get to know them on a trip like this. You appreciate where they’re coming from. It just develops deeper bonds.” 

Seniors provide a vital role with their well-versed travel experience by assuming most responsibilities while also learning from younger teammates. 

“I’m so grateful that they see me as someone they can respect but also have a relationship with,” said senior team captain Kellie Ha. “They teach me slang, they teach me TikTok dances, they make fun of me when I don’t use a phrase right. I think that has been the funniest part of them teasing me this whole entire year.” 

With the focus of improving every day throughout the season, being able to relax and see the team in a different environment allows for a shift in perspective. 

“When he’s (Barnes) on vacation, it’s so nice just to see him not be stressed or not be as go, go, go,” Ha said. “I make fun of him all the time because he does not know how to take a nap. His response to that all the time is, ‘Kellie, there’s so many things to do. I can always find something to do.’” 

Taking this spring break trip has become a checkpoint in the season. It allows the team to grow closer as they near their all-important end-of-season competitions. This season the women had three matches scheduled at Hilton Head, however their first was canceled due to weather.  

“I think coming down here, we’re all in a mindset where we just want to grow closer with each other, even with the coaches,” junior Sarah Ferguson said. “Just encouraging having fun with each other improves the happiness of the trip.” 

Of course, like regular students, it provides these student athletes an opportunity to let their hair down and enjoy a little time off from classes.  

“It’s so nice that it’s in the middle of the school year,” Ha said. “The week before, everyone is stressed about midterms and trying to study and cram in all their homework. The day that we left, girls were taking exams the morning of and going to class.” 

These student athletes will look to hit both the textbooks and the record books at the end of the season. They will play in the WIAC Final Four AQ Tournament April 27 in efforts to make their way to the NCAA tournament where they will seek to close out the season as some of the nation’s best. 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Gabe Sadoski
Gabe Sadoski, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

Comments (0)

The Royal Purple encourages readers to voice their opinions via the online comments section. Comments may be monitored for appropriateness and viewer safety. If a comment is harassing, threatening or inappropriate in nature, it may be taken down with editor's discretion.
All Royal Purple Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *