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Cyclone tennis player serves up positivity on court

Tennis player Christina Gnong was awarded Cyclone of the Week for her outstanding performance, drive and dedication to her team.

Sophomore nursing student Christina Gnong dominated her matches against Notre Dame de Namur in March. (Courtesy of APER)
Sophomore nursing student Christina Gnong dominated her matches against Notre Dame de Namur in March. (Courtesy of APER)

Gnong, a second-year nursing student, received this honor after winning both her singles matches against  Notre Dame de Namur’s Division 2 team. She dominated the matches, 6-1 and 6-0. 

“We had just seen little signs of more positivity, more optimism, more confidence, more determination,” Head Coach Amy Jensen said. “She’s just been pushing herself a lot harder in fitness, also in practice, and pushing everyone else.”

Gnong started playing tennis her senior year of high schoolShe was introduced to Mills’ team during the Summer Academic Workshop program and is now in her second and final competitive tennis season.

The award came as a surprise to the player. Gnong attributes this achievement and her success to her passion for the sport.

“I don’t know what the drive is that has made me want to push harder this semester,” Gnong said. “Maybe because it’s my last year — last year to be on a team, last year to play tennis competitively.”

Gnong plays singles and doubles for the tennis team. Although she likes both types of matches, she particularly enjoys the teamwork involved in playing double. To Gnong, tennis is a mental game similar to chess; it is all about strategy.

Gnong’s teammates have also noticed her passion and drive.

Gnong’s doubles partner Noelani Meteyry believes that Gnong is a team leader who supports her teammates on and off the court.

“She ensures that we are both mentally and physically capable of achieving our goals by regularly checking in with us or even being an open ear,” Meteyry said.

As a student in the nursing program, Gnong will be leaving Mills in May to complete her degree at Samuel Merritt University. Over the past two years, Gnong has turned into a leader on and off the court. Her coaches and teammates will notice Gnong’s absence from the team.

“Christina is an athlete I really wish I could spend more time with,” Coach Jensen said. “I wish she had more time with the team.”

In addition to playing for the Mills team, Gnong plays  tennis with various individuals on campus. While her competitive tennis playing may end after she leaves Mills, Gnong will continue to play recreational tennis.

“Tennis is life,” Gnong said.