By Calvin Smith — Staff Writer
From being the top tennis recruit in Tennessee — to Southern Conference Freshman of the Year — to 2nd team All-SoCon as a sophomore — UTC women’s tennis player Samantha Caswell is on track to to shine even more for the Mocs as an upperclassmen.
With help from her father who happens to be a former professional tennis player — Ned Caswell — Samantha’s life has been centered around tennis for a long time.
A Chattanooga-area native from Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and a graduate from The Baylor School, Samantha originally didn’t see herself staying close to home for college. She took visits to schools that were eight or more hours away from Chattanooga, but no matter how hard she tried to leave her hometown, the Scenic City couldn’t leave her.
“Every time I went to visit somewhere I just always wanted to come back home,” Caswell said on her decision to attend UTC. “I just love Chattanooga”
Entering her freshmen season under former UTC head coach Jeff Clark, Caswell didn’t shy away from her high ranking; welcoming the challenge of improving her game despite an illustrious high school career. “I wanted to come to college to get better I didn’t want to be one of those players who peaked in high school. It definitely made me want to do better,” she said.
Better turned out to be a 21-8 record in singles en route to earning SoCon Freshman of the Year in her initial season for the Mocs.
After the stellar freshman campaign, Caswell went on to earn 2nd team All-SoCon honors as a sophomore after posting a 14-7 record at the No. 3 seed.
Despite success, Samantha didn’t enjoy seeing the number two in front of “All-SoCon Team”.
“I like that it said All-SoCon but not that it said 2nd in front of it” Caswell said with a little chuckle. “(1st) is what I definitely want to get this year”.
Samantha is excited to continue to excel on the court for UTC, but what can’t be forgotten is her outstanding achievements in the classroom as well. A true student athlete, Caswell learned she can achieve in all aspects of life if she puts her head down and does the hard work.
Samantha said if you’d known her in high school you may be surprised she was on the Dean’s List at UTC and was an Academic All-SoCon player. She realized once she got to college she can make the most of every opportunity she has. Caswell prides herself that she can put herself through school while playing tennis.
Academics are vital to Samantha because she had to be accepted into nursing school, which is no easy task. Becoming a nurse is a dream of Samantha’s and pushes her to always excel in the classroom.
Samantha has a clear idea of her goals for her final two years wearing a UTC jersey. Obviously, she wants the coveted All-SoCon but she wants more than personal accolades. She wants to grow into a leadership role because she is an upperclassman now.
Samantha believes she can help the underclassman girls on the team, “I’m just excited to be one of the older girls who’s had more experience, with younger girls coming in, I can help them out”.
Samantha seeks to continue to do it all on and off the court in her final two seasons in college before continuing on and becoming a nurse.
Contact Calvin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @calvin_smith33