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Ashley Yeah enters remaining season with No. 70 singles rating

Sydney Malone

Present senior Ashley Yeah serves in opposition to Rutgers on March 23, 2022. In keeping with Yeah, she has at all times saved athletics and training at equal significance, which contributed to dedication at Illinois.

For many, the choice of the place to play Division I sports activities depends on the state of that College’s program. How good are the amenities? Will I be successful quite a lot of video games? Do I imagine this program will give me the instruments to take me to the subsequent degree?

However on high of all of those questions, senior Ashley Yeah of Illinois girls’s tennis was additionally weighing the tutorial facet of her choices. All through her childhood, Yeah cast a life-style that allowed her to excel each on the tennis court docket and contained in the partitions of Los Gatos Excessive College. She noticed no cause why her twin success couldn’t be replicated on the subsequent degree.

“All through my life I’ve at all times put each faculty and tennis excessive up,” Yeah stated. “I at all times centered on faculty as nicely. One of many major causes I selected to return to Illinois was additionally due to the stellar pc science program. My precedence is to at all times hold each faculty and tennis at a excessive degree, and I believe getting used to that since highschool, it was not too dangerous of a transition for me. I believe faculty right here has a fairly good program for each faculty and tennis so it makes it simpler for me to succeed in out and steadiness my schedule as a result of everyone seems to be so accommodating.”

Having the ability to succeed at a Division I tennis program on high of the inherent course load of a pc science main, not to mention a high pc science program within the nation, is sort of remarkable.

Maybe the simplest option to view Yeah’s progress as a participant whereas at Illinois is to match her two outings on the Wahoowa Invitational. Yeah started her collegiate tennis profession in September 2019 with a visit to Charlottesville, Va., the place she received one in all her seven matches in opposition to rivals from Virginia, NC State, Kansas, Princeton and Oklahoma. Nevertheless, when Yeah returned almost three years later to the day to kick off the 2022 fall season, she didn’t lose a single match.

Yeah constructed on this begin to the 2022 fall season in super style, successful the UTR Faculty Circuit doubles championship with senior Josie Frazier and selecting up three singles wins on the ITA All-American Championships. These performances resulted in Yeah being designated because the Seventieth-best singles participant in all girls’s school tennis going into the spring season.

The expansion of Yeah’s sport has been a gentle path upwards all through her complete collegiate profession, and though she is joyful in regards to the first-time rating, Yeah believes there’s much more she will be able to do.

“I believe going into school tournaments, everybody needs to be ranked,” Yeah stated. “That is at all times the aim, however it’s not the way you get there. I believe all of the expertise I’ve been capable of construct up all through each season right here has finally put me on this scenario. I’m actually grateful for that, however there’s nonetheless quite a lot of room to go up from right here.”

Whereas only a few would attempt to argue that an athlete’s journey comes simply, it’s evident that Yeah needed to battle in opposition to extra adversity throughout her time at Illinois. Starting her profession de ella in fall 2019 meant her first spring season was outright canceled because of the pandemic after simply 14 matches whereas her sophomore 12 months noticed no fall season and the spring season was restricted to Large Ten play solely.

Regardless of the sheer magnitude of missed alternatives to work on her sport, Yeah’s enchancment has but to falter, significantly in singles play, the place simply final 12 months, Yeah set a private file of fewest losses in a season (5).

Because the upperclassmen proceed to maneuver on from a pair of irregular seasons, one might assume a person chief or two have risen as much as assist information the crew by way of ups and downs. Nevertheless, Yeah believes it’s the group as an entire relatively than a single individual that might be there for the Illini as they appear to make their first NCAA match look since 2017.

“The primary two seasons we had weren’t actually like the actual ‘regular’ season,” Yeah stated. “However I believe final 12 months was nice to get by way of all of that and tackle extra of a management position. It isn’t too dangerous for our crew as a result of we’re fairly shut and everyone will get alongside. It is actually about everybody pushing everybody. So it’s not like we’ve got the largest management position as a result of (the crew) makes it fairly straightforward, the chemistry has actually helped with that side.”

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