An important part of any team is its leaders. Senior Christine Ordway is serving as co-captain of the women’s tennis team for a second year this season.
Ordway, originally Falmouth, Maine, started playing tennis at a slightly older age than most of her teammates and competitors.“I guess I started playing a little late,” she said. “I was around 11. I went to tennis camp for two weeks — my parents kind of forced me to go — and I ended up really, really liking it. I came home and told my parents I wanted to play more tennis. They were pretty thrilled, so they got me signed up for lessons and it went from there.”After years of hard work, she made it through juniors and proved herself eligible for collegiate play. Ordway says the decision to play for Cornell was not a difficult one.“I remember I took my official visit here in early September and I met the team, saw the campus and got a feel for the school. I knew almost right away this was where I wanted to go. I loved the team, I really loved the coaching staff, so it kind of just fit into place.”Ordway discussed how her love for the team has only grown stronger since she has been here.“They are my closest friends at school,” she said. “We’ve been really lucky … I couldn’t ask for better [teammates].”Junior Ryann Young echoed the same sentiment.“It’s Christine’s second year as our captain, so we all feel close to her. She has definitely been a role model for the past two years,” she said. “She’s someone that all of us look up to. She works really hard, has a is positive attitude and is really supportive.”Being a captain of the team for the past year has been a formative part of her time at Cornell.“It’s been such an honor,” Ordway said. “I really feel pretty lucky that everyone supported me and wanted me to do this. There isn’t a group I would rather do this for.Everyone works really hard, [practices] and competes really hard every day, so it has been pretty easy for me … Hopefully I’m doing well.”Ordway serves as a co-captain alongside senior Sarah O’Neil.“Being captain with [O’Neil] is obviously an awesome experience,” Ordway said. “I think we balance each other well.”This close relationship is beneficial for the team as a whole as well.“They have been besties since twelve’s,” Young said. “They are still really good friends, which is awesome because that helps the team dynamic even more.”Ordway talked about how being a part of the Red has boosted her tennis skills over the past four years.“College tennis is obviously a lot different than junior tennis, where you are only playing for yourself,” she said. “It’s really cool being on a team, and I [along with everyone else have] improved tremendously. Fitness wise I think I am in better shape now then ever before. The coaches are really good with strategy and really helped me compete on a higher level than I was in high school. I’ve seen a huge improvement in myself.”“[Ordway] has definitely improved,” Young added. “Because of all her hard work and commitment, she continues to improve every year.”Aside from her coaches and teammates at Cornell, Ordway also draws inspiration from some of the pros.“I guess I have always looked up to Kim Clijsters, just because I have so much respect for the way she plays,” she said. “She is always so focused and so determined. She has the best attitude of any player I have ever seen — winning or losing, she always fights her hardest.”As the freshmen new to the team adjust to collegiate tennis, they have Ordway to turn to, as both a leader and a friend.“Christine definitely treats the freshmen as friends: she is someone for them to talk to and at the same time, someone for them to look up to,” Young said. “She is not just an authoritative figure. Because she is such an easy person to talk to, the freshmen feel at ease when they’re around her. They feel comfortable speaking up, which is great.”
Original Author: Dani Abada