Laura Krull ’13 is a sociology major, tennis player and recent United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Midwest singles champion. She will be competing in the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships October 11-14 in Mobile, Alabama.
How did you start playing tennis?
I actually first started when I was seven years old. Both my parents played in high school so they started me and brother out playing it, and it took off from there. I played different sports up through middle school until I decided to focus on tennis.
Do you plan on continuing tennis, whether competitive or recreational?
Yeah, I definitely see it being a part of my life forever. Definitely as a hobby, and they do have adult tennis tournaments and leagues so I can see myself doing that in the future. It’s hard to imagine giving up something that’s been such a big part of my life.
So you recently won regionals, how was that?
That was absolutely amazing. It was something where I didn’t expect it to happen. I wasn’t the favorite at all going into it. I just showed up ready to compete and play my hardest. I decided to just make it through each round and then I saw myself in the semifinals, then the finals. Once I got to the semifinals, I was like, ‘Hey, I can actually win this.’
And my teammates have been really amazing and super supportive of me. That’s something that meant a lot to me. Even though, it was an individual tournament, it felt like a team experience. It made me really feel like I was a part of a team and that I had a community behind me.
Was there a lot of tough competition?
Every other round was pretty tough for a while. The last day, on Sunday, I played an over two-hour long match in the morning. It took a lot of energy and determination just to get through that because I had been sore from the days before.
How did you celebrate your win?
Not a whole lot. I ended up staying with my coach [Coach Andy Hamilton ’85]. It was just really great afterwards. I started crying after I won. I ran over to give my coach a giant hug. I spent a lot of time just soaking it in and processing everything that had happened.
How do you plan on preparing for nationals?
We’re going to try and stick with what we’ve been doing. It seems to have been working. We don’t want to risk getting any injuries. But I’ll definitely be practicing hard. Hopefully, we’ll be hitting with some of the men on the team to mix it up and get different balls. It’s just really about getting motivated at practice. I have a goal in mind now. I’m going to nationals. I need to do the best I can and really represent Grinnell.
Why exactly do tennis players grunt?
Well, the thing is you’re taught that when you hit the ball, you want to breathe out. So for a lot of people, to do the breathing out part, you end up grunting with it. I mean, there are a lot of different levels of grunts. I have been known to grunt myself, but I try to stick with the calmer ones.
What’s been your favorite memory at Grinnell so far?
I transferred here my second year, and I’ve been really impressed with how well everyone has welcomed me. I immediately felt like a part of the tennis team. I became heavily involved with the Christian group on campus, and I’ve been leading a lot with them this year.
I guess my favorite memory on the tennis court would be winning conference during the fall of my third year. Just being part of that and having success as a team was really exciting. We’ve also had a couple crazy trips to nationals. They were kind of stressful at times, but they were great times to spend with my teammates, really bonding and just having fun together.
Did you study abroad?
I did not. But I did go abroad for five weeks after my freshman year. I went to Bath, England. I was an English major then so it was for English specifically, like English Lit classes. And it was amazing. It gave me a taste of being abroad without being a full semester.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan on going straight into a PhD program for sociology. I’ll be applying to all of those this fall. Hopefully, sometime in the spring I’ll know more about what I’m doing. But I really want to go straight into a five-year program. I’m planning to teach and do research.
Is there any advice that you would give your first-year self?
Advice I would give to my first year self would be to not stress so much about schoolwork, and to be spontaneous. Sometimes when your friends are getting together and want to hang out, that’s a lot more important than homework. Being there for your friends is something really important that I’ve learned through the years. Also, learning to let life come at me, and not worrying about all the little details. The schoolwork will get done.
And finally, if you were one of the seven dwarfs, which dwarf would you be?
I’d probably be a mix of Sleepy and Doc. I’ve been known for my naps, got to be honest here. I think a lot of people would be Sleepy.