Many things may travel through the head of a college athlete before the first game of their career.
The nerves are there. But so are the questions of will this be like high school, am I going to fail, or am I going to succeed?
In the case of St. John’s women’s tennis freshman Nakita Austin, she answered those questions with success, or, in the words of women’s head coach Gemma Alexander-Mozeak, she was “spectacular.”
Austin finished with a 3-1 singles record and reached the finals of the Flight B singles draw at the Columbia Classic this past weekend. In the finals, she played Columbia senior Marlena Hall to the very end, but lost in the third-set tiebreaker by two points.
“She [Austin] played a senior from Columbia who used to be their No. 1 player and she made her work for three hours,” said Alexander-Mozeak. “That’s what were looking for, were looking for her to play more strategically.”
Beside Austin, senior Gabija Gasiunaite, junior Ira Aleksova, sophomore Jenny Yonkus and freshman Joanna Zwirbulis all had impressive showings throughout the tournament.
Gasiunaite and Yonkus both made it to the Consolation Finals in the divisions Flight B and A, respectively, while Aleksova made it to the semifinals of the Flight A Singles.
Playing in the doubles tournament, Austin and Zwirbulis made it to the semifinals and lost a hard fought match against Harvard’s Camille Jania and Caroline Davis, 8-6.
“They were down 4-1, they hung around,” Alexander-Mozeak said. “They’re both freshman and just met each other two weeks ago and playing together for the first time. Overall, it was a great match.”
The men’s tennis team was as successful as the women’s team this past weekend at the USTA Billie Jean King Men’s Collegiate Invitational at the USTA National Tennis Center.
Freshman Milo Hauk propelled the Red Storm as he went on to reach the finals of the singles Flight 5 in the tournament. He finished the tournament with a 3-1 record and lost in the finals in a close match against Harvard’s Alistair Felton.
Beside Hauk, senior Jordan Talbot, junior Martin Kosut and sophomore Pavel Cerny all played well, as each of them finished their weekends with a 2-1 record in their respective flights.
In doubles, the duo of Hauk and senior Gustavo Loza reached the semifinals of the doubles bracket three, but fell to Cornell’s pair of Andy Gauthier and Jeremy Feldman, 8-3.
Both teams will return to the courts this upcoming weekend. The men’s team will travel to Princeton, N.J. to participate in the Farnsworth Invitational, while the women will travel to West Point, N.Y. to participate in the Eastern Championships hosted at Army University.