Freshmen Guan and Broom transition well to college tennis

by Danielle Okonta | 10/3/16 12:20am

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Chuyang Guan ’20 opted to play for Dartmouth instead of turning pro.

by Tiffany Zhai / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Many freshmen athletes have started off great seasons on both varsity and club teams here at Dartmouth, but two freshmen have gone above and beyond. Last weekend, two freshmen athletes on the men’s and women’s tennis teams concluded very successful season openers. Chuyang Guan ’20 of the women’s tennis team went undefeated in singles, winning all three matches in straight sets, at the Tribe Invitational held by the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Likewise, Charlie Broom ’20 of the men’s tennis team also went undefeated, going 4-0, in singles at the Ivy Plus Invitational held by Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Both freshmen have earned many past accolades prior to their collegiate debuts and have been nationally ranked at the junior level.

Guan started playing tennis in the summer of 2005 at 7 years old. Prior to picking up a racket, Guan was playing basketball. Her father introduced her to tennis, signing her up for lessons with a neighborhood Russian coach.

“I spent all summer playing tennis in the mornings and began to enjoy the sport as I continued playing,” Guan said.

As the lessons continued, Guan eventually gave up basketball and pursued tennis exclusively.

Growing up next to a tennis club, Broom was exposed to tennis at an even younger age.

“My bedroom overlooks thirteen tennis courts,” Broom said.

In his early childhood years, Broom would make his way down to the tennis club and play the game on his own for fun.

Eventually, he became good enough to consider playing for sport and officially started playing at the age of 10. Though both played tennis in their youths, the two followed disparate paths to Hanover.

Guan had two options: play collegiately or transition to the professional level. Unfortunately, she suffered an injury during her sophomore year of high school and had to make a tough call, ultimately deciding to play at the collegiate level.

For Broom, collegiate tennis was an early aspiration. As he progressed in high school, he began the process of applying for schools and took an interest in Dartmouth.

“I really like the intimate size of the campus, and I found the team to be more like a family,” Guan said. “I also think the community at Dartmouth is very warm and welcoming.”

Dartmouth’s unique foundation for undergraduates has also played a part in each athlete’s transition to the College as student athletes. Both athletes agree that while they are still gradually adjusting to college, some aspects of their schedules have become manageable.

Before coming to Dartmouth, Guan spent her mornings and afternoons practicing and only had a small window of time to study.

“Now as a student athlete at Dartmouth, I get to spend more time studying and working on academics while competing,” Guan said.

Broom also enjoys the routine of his schedule.

“Back home, I would go to school and plan to organize my own training schedule, and it was different every week,” Broom said. “Here at Dartmouth my schedule is very structured, and I am becoming more accustomed to it as the year progresses.”

While both coaches are still getting to know their new freshman athletes, they agree that they are enjoying the new additions to their programs.

“As a player, [Guan] has a high level of focus, has strong spatial awareness on the courts and she has a willingness to go outside her comfort zone,” women’s head coach Bob Dallis said.

Broom’s impact, men’s head coach Chris Drake said, is felt both on and off the courts.

Both coaches expressed that though the early successes have brought attention to the two young athletes, maintaining love for the game and personal well-being off the court will be critical for long term success.