MaKenna Gonzales: The NCAA student-athlete

Hit it: Senior MaKenna Gonzales winds up to smash the tennis ball. Gonzales and Co. have won the MIAA Championship for tennis.

If you have not noticed yet, the Ichabod tennis team is performing exceptionally well. So well in fact that they have jumped all the way up the national rankings to the number 6 spot after putting up an 18-1 record. Helping lead the charge for the nationally ranked tennis team is senior, MaKenna Gonzales. Before attending Washburn and playing tennis, she attended Arkansas City High School here in Kansas where she gained her love of tennis, even though it was not a hub of tennis.

“We did not really have a country club for tennis, so it really was not much tennis there except for high school tennis. Growing up in Ark[ansas] City was good. It was small, so there was not all that much to do,” Gonzales said.

Before she came to Washburn to play tennis, she and her best friend, senior Ally Burr, were playing tennis together all the way back in elementary school. Since then, they have never been separated from each other.

“Makenna is one of my best friends, we’ve played together since we were in elementary school. She is loyal and extremely hardworking. Honestly, just the trust that I have in her and knowing that she will always be there for me no matter what it might be; tough weights, not hitting well or something else. We always have something to laugh about and it makes my career here so much better to have played with her,” Burr said. 

Tennis has been in Gonzales’ blood since she was young. After playing tennis for so long, tennis becomes more about the people you are with than yourself.

“I love the team aspect of tennis. I love cheering everyone on and that kind of stuff,” Gonzales said.

Like the recent NCAA student-athlete commercials have shown, outside of school and tennis there is not much free time for Gonzales these days.

“I just started nursing school actually, so I still have three more semesters of that after I get done with this semester,” Gonzales said.

Once Gonzales finishes up her degree, Gonzales is not sure exactly what she wants to do moving forward.

“I might keep going to school to get my masters, but I’m not really sure if I’m going to do that or not yet. Then, hopefully get a job somewhere,” Gonzales said.

Even though tennis has been able to take Gonzales all over the country, she wants to see more than just the United States.

“I would love to travel. I would love to go to Spain. I want to go skydiving,” said Gonzales.

Being in a sport for more than ten years can make you learn a thing or two. For Gonzales she has learned to never stop.

“I’ve learned in tennis that you should never give up no matter what, because there’s always a chance for you to come back,” Gonzales said.