Eagle Spotlight of the Week: Kristi Kegerreis
Every week, a member of the Athletics Media Relations staff will sit down with one member of the Georgia Southern women’s tennis team for an Eagle Spotlight of the Week. This week’s featured player is Kristi Kegerreis, a junior from Fairfax, Va. Kegerreis has starred at the No. 1 position the entire dual match season in both singles and doubles. She currently boasts a 5-3 dual match doubles record with partner Ali Beavers.
AMR: The team is playing extremely well at the present moment; you’re on a five-match win streak. Can you talk about the success of the team and what you can contribute to playing so well?
Kristi Kegerreis: Well we are all really excited. I think that our big win at Elon was kind of our turning point. Elon was a really big win because we haven’t beaten them in a few years, so once we beat Elon we knew that we were good and we could upset other teams. We had that feeling going into Davidson and we beat them 5-2, so that was a really big win too.
I’ve heard a lot about the team camaraderie from others. Can you talk about that a little? How does that affect the team on the court?
We are a really close team. A lot of teams are just teammates, but we’re a team of really good friends. We spend a lot of time together with tennis and without tennis just hanging out because we like to be around one another.
And that shows on the court because we are always cheering each other on and I think people can see that. We always encourage one another to fight. No matter who is on the court, we are trying to keep a positive atmosphere out there.
You had a good fall campaign. Can you tell me what you worked on during the off-season to improve?
I was working on trying to be really consistent and stay positive out there because I’m always playing a lot of good players. So trying to stay positive and consistent and trying to fight out the match.
You’ve met some difficult opponents on the court in your years here. So before a match when you know that you’ll be playing a ranked opponent or just someone tough, does that motivate you? How do you prepare yourself mentally for it?
I definitely look at it as a challenge because I know there is nothing to lose; I can only do better. They definitely have to be more nervous than I am because there is a chance they could lose to someone who is unranked. That gets me motivated to try and surprise them.
In my head I’m saying, I’m going to make them beat me.’ If I’m going to lose it’s not going to be me making a bunch of mistakes. I’m going to make them prove that they are a really good player. If they can’t, then hopefully I can sneak out a win.
You guys are in the middle of a three-match road trip. What are some of the advantages to playing on the road and what are the disadvantages?
Whenever we play on the road, we’re eating breakfast together before a match, eating dinner the night before a match. So we’re spending even more time together when we’re on the road than when we’re at home.
But I think one of the things that we probably dislike the most when we’re on the road is that we miss our warm-up cd that we have at all our home matches. We really like our warm-up cd and it is kind of our ritual. So we’re always trying to think of new ways to pump ourselves up at those matches because we don’t have that.
What’s on the warm-up cd?
We all voted on a bunch of songs that we wanted on the cd. I voted for Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolph.
You’re in the honors program here on campus. How do you balance academics and athletics?
I always try to get things done really early and stick to my schedule. Having tennis really helps me balance out my time because I know there is a time for tennis and whenever there’s not time for tennis, I’m doing my schoolwork and getting that out of the way.
What was the hardest transition for you between junior tennis and collegiate tennis?
I’d say it’s more time consuming because we are practicing almost every single day and adding weights and also conditioning onto that. So there is a lot more off-court stuff that I’m doing in college tennis than I was doing in junior tennis.
Can you compare yourself as a tennis player now to when you first arrived?
I’d like to say that I’m more of a team player. I can feed off my teammates whenever I’m playing and that can pump me up and make me play better. I think that I’m a better doubles player now in college tennis because we didn’t play a lot of doubles in junior tennis. My net game and volleys are definitely a lot better and my serve is a lot better than it was in junior tennis.
How did you start playing tennis?
My dad was a director of tennis at a country club where I grew up and he always had me out there playing in his junior tennis clinics or something. And I liked it, so I kept playing.
What is your favorite thing about the tennis game?
In college tennis I definitely like the team atmosphere. It’s still an individual sport, but it’s more fun playing with the team and winning with the team.
It seems you come from an athletic family with your dad playing tennis at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and your brother playing lacrosse in high school. Was your family very competitive growing up?
Yea. Both my parents were both encouraging us and we played a lot of different sports growing up. I wasn’t just playing tennis and Derek wasn’t just playing lacrosse. I played lacrosse and soccer in high school and so did Derek. They just always encouraged us to stay active.
If you met my family, we are really competitive. When we go on vacation, me and my mom will team up and play my brother in tennis. It’s really competitive. Sometimes we win and if we don’t win, there is always a rematch - no matter who wins.
You’ve said your dad has been your coach since you learned the game. What values did he instill in you?
He definitely instilled hard work because he always told me that if you work hard, you can achieve your goals. But if you don’t put in that hard work, nothing is going to come easily. He also used to talk a lot about mental toughness and staying positive on the court. Now whenever you watch me play, I try not to tell you when I’m losing badly. I won’t throw a fit when I’m out there. He’s always told me that tennis should be fun, so if I have a bad attitude, that’s not going to be fun.
What was the most important thing you remember learning from him?
Every time before a match, he used to tell me Let it rip and don’t be scared to miss.’ I still remember that whenever I play a tennis match. I guess that kind of applies to life to. He tells me that whenever I talk to him on the phone too.
Who is the funniest person on the team?
Definitely Melanie [Rolle]. If you could experience a road trip with Melanie, you would know why. She is probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Ask her to sing Avril Lavigne’s song Hot. She’s not the best singer in the world, but she’ll entertain you!
Best memory since being here?
Best memory so far has been the win from Davidson this year, which was a really big win for us because we hadn’t beaten them in eight years. But the funniest memory that I can think of was two years ago when Heather Reynolds was on the team. During warm-ups we always high-five each other and she went to high-five the other team on accident. She went out to high-five them and they all freaked out. That is something I’ll never forget, her trying to high-five Western Carolina. She was really, really embarrassed and it was really, really funny.
- Category: Women's Tennis
- Published on Wednesday, 25 March 2009 00:09