UNO tennis star Rachel Faulk links success to others
Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 16:03
There's nothing like getting through life with the resources of a mentor. They build mental confidence and prepare you for the challenges ahead. UNO tennis star Rachel Faulk attributes her ever-growing career and catapulting success to her mentors.
In the 2005-06 season, junior teammate Maggie Russell took Faulk, then a freshman, under her wing. The two blossomed as a pair.
That year, the duo went on to win the No. 1 doubles title at the North Central Conference Championships. Faulk went on to capture the title in No. 2 singles, rounding out a prosperous first season as a Maverick.
After disappointing losses in doubles and singles during the NCC tournament her sophomore year, Faulk was left with extra motivation leading into this season.
She brought that into her junior year, as well as the knowledge of what it takes to be successful, which came from Russell.
"Maggie always worked hard, and I know where she came from," Faulk said. "How she improved as a player has made me want to do that."
Without question, Faulk has.
As the 2008 regular season draws to a close, Faulk is on pace to become one of the best tennis players to wear the UNO red and black.
She holds a school record .830 winning percentage and a career mark of 39-8, which places her fifth among all UNO players. She is second in school history with 17 career singles wins.
Only a junior, Faulk will more than likely surpass all those in front of her before her career is over.
This year, with the graduation and departure of Russell, Faulk has formed a new bond that has served well for the Mavs.
Team captain and doubles partner Kylie Roe made the transition work well for Faulk, and their performance as a pair has been a success in 2008.
The No. 1 doubles team is 7-2 on the year.
The team is the anchor of UNO's three doubles teams, who are a combined 20-7 on the year.
"Kylie is a good person to have as a partner. She's competitive and real easy to talk to. It's good to have that in a partner," Faulk said. "Kylie is one of those girls that is always working hard, and when she is out there working hard, it makes you want to do the same."
Along with Maggie and Kylie improving the work ethic of Faulk, Head Coach Bill Nichols certainly should not be left out of that equation.
UNO tennis' first and only coach has proved to be a valuable asset to Faulk's achievements.
"He knows a lot about the game, and when he explains something he puts it into good context," Faulk said. "He tries to challenge you mentally and physically, and I like that about him."
Next season, those challenges will be faced with the transition of UNO athletics from the NCC to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Faulk said she is anxious to take on the new competition.
"I think it's going to be a lot more exciting," she said. "It's nice to have a new challenge, to see where your skills are and to see what the opposition is going to give you in that challenge."
And it will be an exciting challenge to watch.