MEDFORD - The Tufts University women's tennis team has the Athletic Department's longest run of NCAA Tournament appearances with 13. Senior Samantha Gann (Massapequa, NY) has been part of three of those teams, and is now a leader of the 2013-14 squad that will look to extend the streak to 14.
Part of head coach Kate Bayard's veteran teams in recent years, Gann now captains a young Jumbo team featuring six new players. The team is currently playing its fall schedule, preparing for the bulk of their season in the spring. Members of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), the Jumbos play in one of the most competitive leagues in the country.
Her selection as captain is one of several honors Gann has earned during her Tufts tennis career. A Dean's List student as a double major in math and Spanish, she is a two-time Academic All-NESCSAC recipient. She was an All-NESCAC second team selection in 2012 and played on the 2011 team which was the first Tufts squad ever to advance to the NCAA "Elite Eight." She is also the the Co-Chairperson of the Community Engagement Committee of Tufts' Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
GoTuftsJumbos.com was fortunate enough to track Samantha down during her busy days and she embraced the opportunity to be our next Jumbo In Focus:
With the addition of several new players for this year, the women's tennis team has a new look. What are the team goals for 2013-14?
SG - Yes, the team lost three talented and beloved players who graduated this past year, so we're very lucky to have six gifted freshman join us this year. All are hard-working, committed players and we already feel as though we have been great friends and teammates for so much longer than one month. We're committed to building supportive relationships and achieving great results this year by working tirelessly at every practice, remaining focused on the present and adding in some fun off the courts. We're excited to see how our team grows together and I certainly believe that, with hard work, a national championship is within our reach.
You spent the summer as an Actuarial Intern in the Retirement, Risk & Finance Group at Mercer LLC, in New York City. What was the best part of that experience?
SG - Working at Mercer was an incredible experience. The group I worked with organized a wonderful internship program that combined technical training with practical experience and also emphasized bonding through many team activities. I had the opportunity to work closely with a team of five other interns under the supervision of a variety of knowledgeable supervisors. I felt that my participation in a mock client evaluation was most valuable as it helped me to understand the demands of the job and to determine whether this was a career that I could envision for my future.
What attracted you to Tufts from Massapequa, NY?
SG - Tufts' excellent academic reputation was the most important factor in my decision to apply. Once I visited Tufts, and met with students here and with Coach Bayard, I knew that I wanted to apply early decision. The energy and enthusiasm of the diverse and passionate student body was contagious. In addition, Coach Bayard and the team were so welcoming, and I was excited at the prospect of joining Tufts' top-notch tennis program. I felt that Tufts was the best place for me to grow as both a person and an athlete.
What are some of your favorite non-tennis aspects of Tufts?
SG - Without a doubt, my favorite thing about Tufts is the people that surround me. Just hanging out and spending time with the most caring individuals makes my day. I also love Greek life, and being a member of Chi Omega. I hope that the bonds that I have with my sisters follow me wherever I go. In addition, my involvement with SAAC has been so fulfilling as the committee works to connect Tufts with the surrounding community and charities in ways that benefit all. Finally, I have had some of the most amazing professors who have shown me that they truly care about me and my future contribution to this world.
It's only early in your senior year, but what are your post-graduation plans at this point.
SG - I'd love to travel for a few weeks after graduation, and then I'm hoping to join Mercer, in Manhattan, as an actuarial analyst and to continue my involvement with Special Olympics athletes. I might also join a women's tennis league because it's difficult for me to see a life without tennis.
Samantha and the rest of the Jumbos have upcoming matches at MIT (Oct. 8) and at Brandeis (Oct. 11) before finishing the fall season at the New England Women's Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament. Their season will resume during spring break week in March.