Nebraska’s Mary Weatherholt hasn’t given too much thought to this weekend’s NCAA regional tennis competition.
That’s usually when she plays her best, she says. She’s just eager to get back on the court after some time off.
The Huskers are hosting Tulsa, UNLV and Wichita State on NU’s varsity courts, just south of 17th and Vine Streets in Lincoln.
Tulsa and UNLV meet at 11 a.m. Friday, while the No. 16 Huskers face the Shockers at 2 p.m. The winners tangle at 2 p.m. Saturday for a chance to advance to the round of 16.
It’s NU’s first time hosting a regional. If the Huskers (22-5) advance to the championship finals May 16 to 21 in Urbana, Ill., it would be another first.
“We wanted to make the sweet 16 and have the opportunity to host,” Weatherholt said. “It was cool over the course of the season that we set ourselves up for that.”
Weatherholt has played a big role in NU’s success. She’s ranked 11th nationally at No. 1 singles with a 23-1 record, including an 11-1 mark against ranked foes. She and partner Patricia Veresova are third in No. 1 doubles at 19-2.
Weatherholt says she loves playing doubles with Veresova, a senior from Slovakia. They’ve both also qualified for the individual part of the NCAA tournament May 22 to 27 in Urbana.
“We joke around, keep it light between points,” Weatherholt said. “We’ve played a lot of matches together, so we know each other’s games really well. I trust where she’s going to be on the court.”
Weatherholt, who has a school-record 116 singles wins in her career, said her success this spring has been surprising. She had to battle through some early pain after undergoing two surgeries in the fall to clean up issues with the meniscus in her right knee.
“I was just hoping to contribute to the team’s success,” she said. “That’s the most important thing.”
She did much more than that.
She was named the Big Ten player of the year for the second time, and was chosen as the NU student athlete of the year with a 3.8 grade-point average in business.
The team also earned the school’s Herman Award for having the highest GPA (3.793).
They may be smart, but the Huskers also know how to have fun, Weatherholt said.
“You couldn’t ask for a better senior season or a group of girls to spend it with,” Weatherholt said. “The team chemistry has been amazing. That’s what I’ll remember. Not the milestones, but the fun moments I’ve had with the team.”
Contact the writer: