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Sunset in the West: Senior bids farewell

staff writer

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 14:04

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SENIOR JACI WEST SERVES during a match at the Sports Academy this season. West finished with a career record in doubles of 59-25. DELAYNE LOCKE photo

 

The women’s tennis team finished another season on Saturday, ending the collegiate career of one of its leaders, Jaci West. 

West has been a constant force on the women’s tennis team at Utah State for the past four years. Over the course of her collegiate career, she had a 53-45 singles record and a 59-25 doubles record. 

She dominated at times and battled through matches at others, but won more often than not. With her final season in the books, she could not feel fonder of her experience here.

  Lettering for all of her four years here in Logan, she has seen a lot of teammates come and go, but that was her favorite part.

  “You play with a lot of different girls,” West said. “This year was completely different in terms of the people I played with from my freshman year. I met a lot of people similar to me.”

  When an athlete plays their final year, many have plenty of things they will miss. West says she will miss playing competitively and the atmosphere of the sport. However, the La Quinta, Calif. native said she will miss playing in Logan.

  “I have a lot of pride in this school,” West said. “I love Logan and I love being an Aggie.”

  Possibly the greatest achievement for West was earning academic all-WAC honors all four years. She maintained her grades by getting up before classes for workouts, traveling with the team and the stress being a collegiate athlete involves.

  “It was definitely a challenge, but it was a goal of mine since freshman year,” West said.

  Her academic success was no accident: It was something she decided she was going to do from the beginning. West said she took some inspiration from her doubles partner her freshman year.

  “Kallie (Sperry) did the same thing, and from there I decided I would make it a goal of mine too,” West said.

  Some don’t achieve their academic goals without the added difficulties of being an athlete, but West was able to work through all of her challenges and live up to her academic expectations.

  West said she would like to stick around after she graduates.

  “I definitely want to stay in Logan after I graduate,” West said. “I’d like to teach tennis and help with USU. I just can’t see my life without tennis.”

  With her love of tennis and love of Logan, West hopes to stick with the Aggies and help them out as they make the transition to the Mountain West Conference.

  “The tennis team worked really hard,” West said. “Not just for themselves, but for Utah State.”

  West said over the years here, she and her teammates played hard for the name on the front of the uniforms, with her main motivation having been the school. 

She said always wanted to perform for the team and has encouraged people to root for the tennis team in the near future.

  “Get excited about tennis in coming years,” West said. “We’re going to the Mountain West and we have great things coming up.”

  The future of the tennis team is one West is excited for and one she hopes to still be involved in.

  “The tennis team cares about each other and about the school,” West said.

  For teammates and coaches, West exemplified how a student-athlete should work. She made school a priority, earning excellent grades in her time as a student. She provided an excellent example for her teammates with her hard work and great attitude toward the game and academics. 

West also showed dominance on the court, shown by her career record. West has been a key presence for the girls on the tennis team and as good a leader as the women’s team could have asked for. In fact, they wouldn’t have asked for a better one.

  “I’m proud to play for Utah State,” West said. “I love it here and I love it in Logan.”

 

– dahdahjm@gmail.com

Twitter: @dahdahjeff

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