As those in attendance for the national letter of intent signing by Roncalli girls tennis standout Elizabeth Kuenzi filed out of school President John Stelzer’s office on Wednesday, he marveled over the athlete Division II’s Quincy University had just added to its roster.
“It’s good for Quincy,” Stelzer said. “They’re getting a great kid.”
Kuenzi, a senior who was the Jets’ No. 1 singles player since joining the squad as a freshman, said she began thinking hard about becoming a collegiate tennis player about a year ago and narrowed her options down to Catholic schools located in the Midwest where she could make an impact on the team.
That led her to look into Quincy, a member of the Great Lakes Volley Conference located in Quincy, Ill. She contacted the coach, set up a visit to meet with him and the team the week after her senior tennis season ended in October, and after playing with the coach was advised what areas she needed to improve upon to be successful at the school.
“They said ‘We have an interest in you’ right away. I decided that moment that I fell in love with the school. It seemed like a neat opportunity and that it was what I was looking forward to,” said Kuenzi, who is looking into an education in physical therapy. “When I went and visited it I just fell in love with it. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
Kuenzi will join the Hawks squad after completing an esteemed high school career. In addition to being named the 2012 HTR Media All-Area Girls Tennis Athlete of the Year, Kuenzi was named second team All-State as a senior and an honorable mention All-State her junior and sophomore years.
As a four-time WIAA Division 2 State Individual Girls Tennis Tournament qualifier, Kuenzi finished sixth in 2012 to earn a medal as a co-captain of the Jets, who qualified for the WIAA Division 2 Team State Girls Tennis Tournament and earned the WIAA Sportsmanship Award.
“It’s been an experience. There have been ups and downs, but overall I feel I’ve been able to overcome a lot and become a stronger person physically and mentally,” Kuenzi said. “(Playing for Roncalli) you get to experience things that most people don’t get to and just being here at a small school, it’s great that you get to be a witness to everything that’s going on. You get to experience so much.”
Kuenzi — who was also named first team All-Eastern Wisconsin Conference her senior and sophomore year, honorable mention her junior year and second team her freshman year — will be registering for classes on Saturday at Quincy, with the current women’s tennis team hosting the incoming freshman players for a meal. Then once the fall rolls around Kuenzi will most likely be playing at the No. 3 singles spot and will see playing time at doubles, something she couldn’t do in high school.
“I’m really looking forward to being a part of another team and getting to experience the family aspect of a team again and being able to hang out with a whole new group of girls,” Kuenzi said. “Of course, I won’t mind the travel and some of the fun college experiences, but I think even though I haven’t really said it, I might miss being so close (to home) and that my parents won’t be at every single match.”