Senior women’s tennis player Brittany Blalock is dedicated to the sport she plays. Whether it be playing, coaching or marketing, Blalock always wants to be around the game.
It is only fitting she has been playing her whole life.
Blalock has played tennis since she was about 4 years old and competitively since she was 9.
Blalock had to choose between Dartmouth University and Cal Poly as a senior in high school. The Southern California native chose to stay out of the cold and move to San Luis Obispo.
“I remember going in as a freshman, kind of wide-eyed and excited for a new experience. Now I feel like I’m coming in as a senior, a veteran, with lots of experience that I can bring to the team,” she said. “It’s kind of rewarding getting to play my whole life and now be here my senior year.”
She and teammate Steffi Wong clinched an NCAA championship berth and finished with a 14-7 record in 2007-08. Blalock was a Big West Conference First-Team selection in both singles and doubles last season and has accumulated a 60-39 record in her career at Cal Poly.
Blalock’s coaches decided to switch up the dynamic and pair Blalock with senior Suzanne Matzenauer, a transfer from Northwestern University. The two have racked up an impressive preseason win list including victories over Berekely, Pepperdine University and Stanford at the All-American Tournament and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Northwest Regionals Tournament.
Last Sunday, after a 22-day delay, the Mustangs hit the court again against USF. In the midst of multiple delays due to weather, Blalock and Matzenauer finally teamed to defeat USF’s Jennifer-Lee Heinser and Cecilia Gratian 8-2.
“We have very different personalities but it definitely helps us balance each other out if one of us is up or one of us is down,” Matzenauer said. “I love playing double with Brit. We’re both captains this year too and we really push each other.”
After her undergraduate career, Blalock is interested in working as a grad-assistant while pursuing an assistant coaching job.
“I really like business marketing. Hopefully after all my school I can do something with sports marketing, whether its working events or working for a sports company,” she said.
Blalock’s path to her dream after college requirea hard work and a busy schedule — a schedule her roommates like to keep a tab on.
“Brittany’s schedule always starts around 8 in the morning and is like ‘practice, class, class, practice, lunch, class, homework,” roommate Ashley James said. “But looking at her schedule is kind of motivating for me.”
Blalock said she does her best to stay focussed on tennis to regain her national ranking. Aside from hours on the court, she depends a little on luck.
“I never wear the same colored socks. It drives my mom crazy,” she said. “I’ve had it for a while. I don’t know why I do it.”
Even with her dedication to tennis, she admitted it hasn’t always been her only love.
“When I was 12 I decided that riding is was what I did for fun … and tennis was my competitive thing. I’m a really competitive person.”
Even in practice, Blalock said she has “this fire” that pushes her to always do her best.
Her drive to improve allows her to maintain a hectic schedule between school, practice and games, but always finds time to stay in contact with her family by talking to her mom every day.
Her roommates have become family as well. They all happened to meet on the court.
“She’s just a pleasant person,” James said. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a bad thing about anyone. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like her.”
Blalock will take the court in Cal Poly’s first Big West Conference game against UC Irvine Saturday at 11 a.m.
— Alex Kacik, Brian De Los Santos and Mikaela Akuna contributed to this article.