Daily Dawg Thread: December 11, 2021

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Daily Dawg Thread: December 11, 2021

WTENNIS: Georgia’s International Freshman Trio

Mell Reasco

The University of Georgia women’s tennis team welcomed three freshmen to the roster this season, Guillermina Grant, Mai Nirundorn, and Mell Reasco. As the newest additions, the trio has traveled from all across the world to join the program.

They have made an immediate impact and transitioned smoothly to collegiate tennis. Over the Fall, they combined for 52 wins — 30 singles and 22 doubles.





Reasco, a native of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, was ranked the No. 4 Freshmen/Newcomer by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) entering the Fall. She posted a 12-3 mark, including 2-1 versus nationally-ranked opponents, won the 2021 ITA Southeast Regional Championship, in Orlando, Fla and made the quarterfinals of the ITA National Fall Championship, in San Diego, Calif. Paired with Graduate Morgan Coppoc, the two rank No. 42 in the nation and dominated doubles play with a 5-1 record. Adding to her already impressive collegiate debut, Reasco played in numerous International Tennis Federation (ITF) events, reaching the semifinals twice.

Grant, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, posted the second-best record of the fall, 10-3. Her freshman campaign was highlighted by winning the ITA Southeast Regional Consolation draw over fellow freshman and teammate Nirundorn.

Nirundorn, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, finished the Fall at 8-8, and 7-4 in doubles.





“I think what stands out about these three is their excitement,” said Georgia associate head coach Drake Bernstein. “They are excited to be here. They are excited to be Bulldogs. Every day they come in fired up to put on the red and black, and that passion was 100 percent clear in the recruiting process. We’ve been waiting for them to get here for a while, and once they got here it just grew even bigger. That’s what they bring to the team every day.”

What stood out to you about the University of Georgia during the recruiting process?

Reasco: The coaches, they were really supportive and I really like them. I’m really tough when I talk with coaches. I don’t get along with coaches much, but when I talked with them (head coach Jeff Wallace and Bernstein) I found they are good people and support you a lot.

Also, one of my idols, Lourdes Carle, came here. She’s from Argentina. In 2019, she won the ITA Indoor National Championship. She talked to me… I really want to have the same experience that she had here.

Grant: Before coming here I also knew Lourdes. I was always following Georgia, and I really wanted to be part of the team. Once Coach texted me, I was super excited about joining the Georgia tennis program.

Nirundorn: I visited five schools, but what really stood out to me about Georgia was the people. Everyone here seemed like a family. I talked to all of them, and they just were so welcoming and nice. It just felt like home here.

Did you have any relationships throughout recruitment with each other all being freshmen? How has that changed from the recruitment process to today?

Reasco: I knew Gigi from South America. She’s from Uruguay, and we played a lot of tournaments together. We’ve known each other since we were 12-years old, so I was really glad that we came to the same university together. With Mai, we played in a couple tournaments, but weren’t that close. Now we’ve come close and get along well with the team.

Grant: Yes, I knew Mell from before, but I didn’t know anyone on the team. I’ve been here for a semester and it seems like I’ve known them forever. They’ve been the best with us. It’s awesome.

Nirundorn: I knew Meg (Kowalski) and I saw them (Gigi and Mell) at tournaments, but we never really spoke. We just kind of saw each other. When we came here, we all just clicked instantly and became really close friends.

What is your favorite part of Athens?

Reasco: Food. I love the food, and also going to Alee’s (Clayton) house. That’s the best part of Athens. We spend a lot of time there. Watch shows, play games, etc…

What is your favorite American food that you’ve tried?

Reasco: Pizza.

Grant: I like ribs, Saucehouse is sooooo good.

Nirundorn: I like Raising Canes. Love Chipotle. We don’t have Chipotle in Thailand.

What are your favorite things to do bonding-wise together as freshmen?

Nirundorn: We live together, so we have grown closer over the past months. We always help each other, whether it’s in school or in tennis. If someone’s feeling down we always try to comfort each other, and we just spend a lot of time with each other. We really enjoy it.

Reasco: Yeah, we are like a family!

Nirundorn: It’s like a family away from home.

Have you learned any new languages recently?

Grant: It’s nice with Mell. We can talk Spanish between us, so that’s great. We also help each other when we need to find words to express ourselves in English. Everyone always helps us with language.

Reasco: It’s a little bit difficult to speak English because our accent is different, but we help each other. Also, right now I am trying to learn French. It is difficult to translate Spanish to English than to French.

Nirundorn: I can speak Thai and English pretty well, but I’m learning French now. Hopefully I will improve.

Have you taught any teammates other languages?

Reasco: They all ask how we say stuff in Spanish and try their best to do it. Sometimes I just say something in Spanish because I don’t know how to say it in English, so they always try to figure it out with our expressions.

Grant: Many times, Coach has tried to speak some words in Spanish for us and that’s cool. We feel like they’re doing their best to make us feel more comfortable.

What are your goals for this year and the rest of your time at UGA?

Grant: My own goal is to have fun. Enjoy the moment and every single day with the girls, and also try to do my best in the court and the classroom, but really enjoy the moment.

Reasco: My goal here is to really find my way in what I want to do in life. Also, I really want to play professionally, so I came to UGA to get better, and to make Nationals.

Nirundorn: My goal this year is to contribute to the team. I really want to help everyone if they are feeling down. I want to be the one that makes them happy. Also, I want to do well in my studies and tennis.

We’re in the trophy room right now, what does it mean to be a player at UGA and be a part of this historic program?

Grant: It’s an honor. Being at a school that’s won so many trophies and championships… It’s cool!

Reasco: It’s awesome! Before coming here I never played on a team, so just being part of it… At first, I thought it would be a lot of pressure, but then I realized I have a lot of support and we can do amazing things together. It’s not just you, so that’s the biggest part. It’s like a family.

Nirundorn: It’s an honor to be here. Georgia is one of the best tennis programs in the country and I’m really glad that I was recruited to play here.

From: Georgia Sports Communications

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.