Sophomore plays a key leadership role despite young age
Bernard Jackson. Richard Roby. Monica Milewski. If you attend CU, you should no doubt recognize those first two names. And, if you cared about more than just CU football and basketball, you would have no trouble recognizing the third name, too.
Milewski, a sophomore business major, is the CU tennis team’s no. 1 singles player.
Against the University of Arizona, the then-56th-ranked Buffs upset the 34th-ranked Wildcats. This was due in part to Milewski’s 6-3, 6-3 no. 1 singles victory, along with a win in no. 2 doubles with teammate Franziska Jendrian.
Milewski said she preferred doubles to singles because it’s more team oriented.
“When I play with Franzi, we just get really pumped up,” Milewski said. “We are focused and intense, but we still can laugh and have a really good time as well.”
In between matches, Milewski has two-hour practices six days a week, as well as weight lifting twice a week.
She credits her father for practicing with her every day while she was growing up in Park Ridge, Ill. Playing at Main South High School, Milewski was crowned 2005 Illinois State High School Singles Champion.
“He was the inspiration that started my tennis career,” Milewski said of her father. “Where I’m at today is because of him.”
While most kids might have played video games or watched television after school, Milewski’s dad made sure his daughter, who started playing tennis at age five, realized her potential.
“He would take me out to the courts everyday and feed a bunch of baskets of balls to me,” Milewski said. “We’d just hit back and forth for about an hour.”
Milewski’s father was her role model in more ways than one, teaching her to be the person she is today.
“Even though she is still considered an underclassman, I would consider her a leader,” said Victoria Almagno, a junior accounting major and one of Milewski’s teammates and friend. “She sets a good example. She always works hard, and it pays off.”
Nicole Kenneally, head coach of the tennis team, heavily recruited Milewski in hopes of making her a Buff.
Milewski’s ability to go from an intense competitor to a calm, polite woman is what separates her from others, Kenneally said.
“It’s nice that she can switch that on and off because I know I could never do that,” Kenneally said.
In addition to her state singles championship in high school, Milewski also played an essential role for her senior year team that won the 2005 Illinois State Championships.
Despite the fact that Milewski had a successful high school tennis career, she was not highly touted entering collegiate athletics.
“I would say that Monica was very under-recruited,” Kenneally said. “I think a lot of coaches are right now saying, ‘Geez, we should’ve recruited her.'”
Milewski said Boulder’s campus and her teammates were just a few of the reasons she chose CU. But the primary reason she is a Buff today is because of her coach.
“I really liked Nicole,” she said. “Compared to some of the other coaches, she really seemed normal. With her, it’s not always about tennis all the time.”
And when deciding between several schools, it came down to more than just athletics.
“(Kenneally) had a side where I could talk to her outside of tennis,” Milewski said. “That was really important and one of the main reasons I decided to come to Colorado.”
Due in part to Milewski’s choice, the 44th-ranked tennis team remains in great shape at 3-1 as they prepare to host the Oregon Ducks this Sunday at the Millennium Harvest House.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Evan Acker at firstname.lastname@example.org.