By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
They swept Notre Dame on Senior Day, which was no great shock for Georgia Tech’s No. 6-ranked women’s tennis team, and it was an especially common feeling for seniors Rasheeda McAdoo and Alexa Anton-Ohlmeyer.
With graduation looming, they’re in this weird continuum where everything seems to be moving near the speed of light.
“Oh my, it seems like a blur,” McAdoo said. “We were talking the other day, and there were like 24 days left and Alexa was freaking out, and . . . I can’t believe it’s so close.”
Tech’s two seniors are closing their college careers on a roll, as the Yellow Jackets (22-2, 12-0 ACC) have registered several huge wins this season.
They won at No. 2 Georgia for just the second time in program history, won at defending ACC champion North Carolina to snap the Tar Heels’ streak of 50 straight home wins and 36 consecutive ACC wins, and won against Miami.
“The places we’ve won, it’s been amazing,” McAdoo said. “Just incredible.”
Soon, it will be over. After Saturday’s match, the Jackets will play at N.C. State and Duke next weekend, hit at the ACC Tournament, and then enter NCAA Tournament play, almost certainly playing host to a regional with the goal of advancing to the big deal at the University of Georgia.
It’s kind of hard to believe for McAdoo and Anton-Ohlmeyer, the children of famous fathers in sport.
McAdoo’s dad, Bob, was an NBA legend. Ohlmeyer’s pop, Don, was for many years a prominent television producer, chiefly with NBC sports.
Mr. McAdoo and his family were at Tech Friday and Saturday, video-taping Rasheeda’s matches as the daughters of these famed men plugged away.
Now that they’re on the verge of lives on their own, they’re nervous.
Anton-Ohlmeyer will move to Chicago after graduation and has three “final-round interviews” next week with potential employers.
When they recently picked up their graduation tickets, it hit hard.
“When looking in your hand your ticket out, I kind of wanted to give the tickets back,” Anton-Ohlmeyer said. “I’ve thought that I’ve been so ready to start the next chapter in my life, but when you hold those tickets in hand, you’re like . . . this is real. We’re about to be adults in the real world.”
Tech’s two seniors will embark upon different paths after graduating.
Anton-Ohlmeyer, who grew up in metro Los Angeles and took up tennis at age 8 when her parents sought to keep her busy, seeks to move into the “real, real world.”
McAdoo will move to her parents’ home in Boca Raton, Fla., take “about a week” off, and start playing low-level professional tournaments to try and pump up her points so that she can earn the standing to play in bigger, more lucrative tournaments.
“This feels like it flew by,” she said. “I can’t believe I’m about to go into the real world.”
These girls, both business majors, have been on this for a while. They’ve been talking, and growing increasingly more uptight.
“For a long time we were talking, like, ‘how many weeks are left here?’” Anton-Ohlmeyer recalled. “We got down to 100 days and then were allowed to count in days, and then it was like a week ago it got down to where she said, ‘Hey, Lex, how many days?’ It was like 24 days, and we looked at each other and said, ‘It was just 40 days; that went way too fast.’
“The amount that needs to get done just between now and . . . school and tennis and everything going on and then graduation . . . we’re just looking at each other and thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ We were just at 100 days.”
McAdoo will talk about how she’s grown over her four years at Georgia Tech, and stop to marvel occasionally at the twists and turns in her career. “I’ve grown,” she said. “Changed.”
Anton-Ohlmeyer’s no different.
She said Tech has shaped her not just through sport and class, but more through a combination of both.
“The team has been incredible,” Anton-Ohlmeyer explained. “Everyone’s put in the effort and the determination and the love for each other to make everything happen to be a unified team. Oh my gosh, it’s been incredible. If someone asks, ‘Do you want to do this?’ I always say yes.
“I said yes to many different groups and different organizations, and a couple non-profits and any volunteer work I could get my hands on. Academically, it feels like it’s been five years. But tennis, this year feels like it’s been two months. Time flies by when you’re having fun.”