San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

As Career Closes, Wells Won’t Run Dry

This May, San Diego State will send another group of collegegraduates into the world. While basking in their temporary pomp andcircumstance, many will reflect back on the exhilarating days ofcollege.

For one particular graduate, the reflection may be as memorable asany.

When Whitney Wells walks off the SDSU tennis courts for the lasttime this year, she will be leaving a place where she has made agreat impact on teammates and coaches alike. Although her warm,multi-faceted personality will be remembered by her coaches andteammates, it’s Whitney’s desire for competition that will leave amark on the courts.

“She is very competitive in anything she does,” said Aztecs headcoach Peter Mattera. “She’s a very good athlete, and any sport shetries, she picks up quite quickly.”

At the ripe age of six, Wells’ competitive flame was lit. Born inSan Diego, Wells cites her father as her main motivation to begin toplaying tennis. Early on in her career, her desire to quit the sportcame up on a few occasions. However, Wells’ competitive nature alwaysled her back to tennis.

Throughout her high school career at Clovis High School and FresnoChristian, Wells faced a rigorous five to six day training schedulethat demanded most of, if not all, her free time.

During the conference finals of her junior year in high school,Wells used her competitive fire to get through an unwelcomepredicament. After defeating current UC Irvine player Jonni Seymourin straight sets, Wells began to suffer from a bad case of legcramps. Only an hour later, she would have to square off againstformer Aztec Lisa Papi in the final round championship.

“I cramped so bad during that match, I collapsed on the court,”Wells said.

Although she easily could have decided to quit her match versusPapi, Wells played on.

And won.

“The match went to three sets, and somehow I miraculously ended upwinning,” Wells said.

Whenthe time came to head off to college, Wells was faced with a fewoptions. Her choices boiled down to USD, SDSU, and Washington, buther decision to become an Aztec was an easy one. After all, her bestfriend and rival, Papi, was playing tennis at SDSU at the time.

“As a coach in college tennis, you want somebody that has weaponsand the ability to finish points,” Mattera said. “Whitney is the typeof player we look for when recruiting.”

Through her first year as an Aztec, Wells learned much aboutherself not only as a player, but also as an individual. As afreshman in 1998, she recorded a 16-6 record in singles play, and a13-3 doubles record. Even more impressively, all her wins at the No.5 spot came in straight sets that year. The following season, Wellsplayed mostly at No. 4, and posted a solid 14-9 record.

But it wasn’t enough. She wanted more competition.

A perfect opportunity for Wells to inherit the much-desiredcompetition came after the 1999 season. Because the top three singlesplayers were graduating from SDSU, Wells was given her chance toshine as a junior.

“Several times throughout those first couple of years, she came tome and said she was ready to play higher,” Mattera said. “With hertemperament, game, and desire, she was the obvious choice to play No.1 singles.”

Making the jump from the No. 4 spot to the No. 1, Wells would haveto face the best the competition had to offer each time she set footon the court.

She finished up her junior year with a singles record of 7-18,suffering a tremendous blow to her self-confidence in the process.However, Wells said she has vowed to put the past behind her, andplans to focus on the new season ahead of her.

Blessed with nearly perfect team chemistry, the Aztecs have jumpedout of the gates with shutouts in their first two matches of the 2001season. In addition, Wells and teammate Katja Karrento began the yearas the 22nd ranked doubles team in the nation.

“This is going to be a really great ride for us this semester, andwe have all the pieces we need for great success,” Mattera said.”Certainly, Whitney is a huge part of that.”

For Wells, success comes in the form of a fist. Over the past fewseasons, she has been known to pump her fist in enthusiasm whenthings are going well on the court.

“When I’m in that state of mind, I’m going to be pretty hard tobeat,” said Wells.

If all goes as planned for Wells this season, the “Whitney Wellsfist” will be in full effect.

“That’s my plan,” Wells said. “I’m going to go out with a bang mysenior year.”

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
As Career Closes, Wells Won’t Run Dry