Hart ready to begin freshman season at Minnesota
Bahamian River Hart is the sole freshman on the University of Minnesota’s tennis team this season. Hart got the chance to compete in the school’s colors for the first time this week at the annual Gopher Invitational where she finished as a runner-up in the top flight.
“I am really happy with how I played,” said Hart of her performance in the tournament. “I felt really comfortable, to be honest, to be playing here and have the coaches and the team supporting me, I really enjoyed it. I played against South Dakota and North Carolina State and all the matches, I thought, were really competitive and I enjoyed all of them. It was a good experience so I’m happy with how my career has started here.”
Hart made it to the finals in flight one of the women’s singles, as she defeated Pule Del Cueto Castillo of Nebraska in a three set thriller semifinal on court one. After dropping the first set, she won a tiebreaker in the second and sealed the deal in the third set, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Hart, 18, said she hopes to build on her performance at the Gopher Invitational moving forward, and that she has some high expectations in place for her freshman year.
“I’m really excited to start the season,” she said. “I’m not sure what (coach) Catrina will do with the lineup but wherever I play I will play my hardest so I’ll be happy wherever. I think the team did really well to prepare this year, everyone competed really well so I’m excited to see how we do when the season starts.”
Prior to moving to Minnesota, Hart played tennis in both Florida and Spain.
“My family moved around a lot. Every summer we’d go to France or Spain. That’s how we found the tennis academy there,” Hart said. “They would put me in academies just for the summer. Then three or four summers went by and we loved it there and wanted to move there so we did. We then lived in Florida and I trained at the academy there.”
Hart and the Gophers will be in action again today at the All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, California, United States. The All-American Championships will run from today through Monday, October 9.