Q&A with Hartley Collins
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
Women's Tennis player, Hartley Collins, sat down with UNCW Sports intern Kristina Morrison to discuss her success on the team, her tennis family and the driving force behind her playing.
Kristina Morrison: You made the team as a walk on freshman. Describe how you did that.
Hartley Collins: I played three sports in high school and I decided probably at the end of my senior year that I wanted to try out. I emailed Coach Garrity and she told me the tryout time, so I came out and made it. It was definitely tough at times. It helped so much to be hitting with better players. I have improved just by being surrounded by people better than me, and I have now gotten to be at their level. It was difficult at first and was discouraging at times, but I have learned a lot from it and I have definitely improved.
KM: What made you want to play tennis in college?
HC: I wanted to play a sport in college, just to be on a team. I have grown up playing sports and I love being on a team with the camraderie and everything associated with it. I chose tennis because I really enjoyed the sport in high school and had the most potential to improve in that sport.
KM: When did you start playing tennis?
HC: I started playing tournaments and being serious about it in my sophomore year in high school. My mom was my high school coach, so she had a big influence on me. I decided to play and I really enjoyed it. Once I started, I didn't really stop.
KM: Was it hard on you having your mom as a coach?
HC: [Laughing] Yes, it definitely was. She was always be harder on me, but I loved it. I liked her being my coach.
KM: Do you prefer playing singles or doubles?
HC: Doubles. I enjoy being on the court with someone else and being able to pick each other up. It's a great advantage. I like the teamwork involved in it, the quicker pace, the energy level and the intensity. Right now I'm playing with Chelsea Kahle. I love playing with her. I actually live with her as well. We're really close friends off the court.
KM: You were named the CAA Doubles Player of the Week in your sophomore year. What was that honor like?
HC: I was very surprised when I got it because I was a walk-on. I never saw myself doing that, but at the same time I had worked really hard at it, so it was surprising yet deserving. My partner at the time, Priscilla [Roberts], was a junior, and she was a really good player also. We had just beaten two CAA opponents, including a team from Old Dominion.
KM: Describe tennis for someone who has never played it.
HC: Out of all the sports, tennis is by far the hardest. Mentally, it's such as up and down roller coaster. You have to stay disciplined and you have to stay on top of your mental game. It's so much fun because you can be down 5-0 and still come back and win. You're never down and out of any match that you play. A down side is that it's not really a team sport, but in college it's surprised me how much of a team sport it really is, how much you really support each other, even though it is an individual sport.
KM: How has playing tennis in college changed your college experience?
HC: It has provided me with a family away from home. Our team is so close. I live with three other players. Our coaches are awesome and they care so much about you and what you're doing, both on and off the court. It's provided me with friends, and a group that I could turn to for anything.
KM: Do you prefer to watch movies or listen to music?
HC: Movies. My favorite is a toss up between "Shawshank Redemption" and "Remember the Titans." I'm a big fan of sports movies. They motivate me.
KM: What would you like to see happen this season?
HC: Personally, I would just like to finish on a high note. In doubles or singles, I would like to make an impact for my team with my play and to be a leader on and off the court.
KM: You are an exercise science major. What do you want to do with that after college?
HC: I'm planning to take a year off. After that, I want to become a registered dietician and possibly to go to graduate school to get my Master's Degree in nutrition. I haven't made that decision yet. It would be great to someday work in sports nutrition.