January 29, 2007

Up-Close with Ricardo Velazquez

Banner Elk. NC--Come meet sophomore Velazquez from Oranjestad, Aruba as we continue our Up-Close series.

1. What made you decide to come to Lees-McRae?

"The surroundings are amazing and I liked the atmosphere it had."

2. How long have you been playing tennis?

"I started out playing recreationally at the age of 10, but by 12 I had to decide whether I was going to make it a main part of my life and a sport I wanted to excel in. So, I have been playing competitively since the age of 12."

3. What are your personal goals for this season?

"My personal goals for this season are to gradually improve my game to where I reach my peak performance at the end of the semester where it is crucial for our faith this season. I would also like my team and myself to have a winning record."

4. What's your favorite tennis memory here at Lees-McRae so far?

"I would have to say it would be an incident that occurred a couple weeks back, when stakes of pride and bragging rights were on the line. Alek and I beat Coach Goode in a doubles match, which he confidently said he would win."

5. What is your favorite part of playing tennis here at Lees-McRae?

"I would have to say the indoor courts in the winter. Most schools don't have that privilege, especially when there is a snow storm going on outside, it's nice to know you will still be able to play tennis in a nice warm facility."

6. Who has been the most influential person on your athletic career?

"First and foremost, my parents who have given me the opportunity to play a sport I enjoyed from a young age. They were very supportive and encouraging throughout the years. Another person who has had a lot of influence is my brother who got me into playing tennis and has been a tremendous role model for me on and off the court."

7. If you weren't playing tennis, what other sport would you play?

"I have a passion for soccer so I would probably be playing that."

8. What is your favorite thing to do off the court?

"Most definitely scuba diving when I am at home, but here I like to hang out with friends off the court."

9. What is your major and what do you plan to do with your degree?

"I am a pre-med major. With this degree, I would like to go to medical school and then specialize in either oncology or plastic surgery."

10. What is your favorite band?

"I wouldn't say I have a favorite band, but like artists including Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls, Bob Marley, and Damien Marley."

11. If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

"To Belize to dive "The Great Blue Hole." It is considered one of the wonders of the world to scuba divers."

12. What is one word that describes you and why?

"I would have to say poised because I go through life firmly on my two feet and keep my life balanced. I try to keep a confident yet humble attitude as I get older."

Ricardo's Story:

Ricardo Velazquez is a sophomore from Oranjestad, Aruba. Son of Francisco and Matilda Velazquez, Ricardo was born in Holland and moved at the age of 2 to Aruba where he grew up and his family still lives today. Velazquez made the decision to dedicate his athletic career to tennis when he was only 12. Upon making this choice, he practiced hard and soon found himself competing in large, world renowned Junior Tournaments. In fact, it was at one such tournament, The Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, where Ricardo was recruited to play college tennis. He was approached by the former Lees-McRae Tennis Coach and invited up to Banner Elk for an official visit. Upon arriving, Valzquez said he was immediately impressed with the Athletic atmosphere he found at Lees-McRae. Half the students that attend LMC are members of its many athletic teams and so the school is tailored to student-athletes as well as students who stay involved on campus and in the community. When Ricardo got to Lees-McRae, he was surprised to find that the team had a new coach. Paul Goode had taken over as head coach of the Bobcats, and Velazquez said he had no trouble meshing with Goode and the players. Velazquez says his favorite parts of Lees-McRae are the guys on the team and the snow (something you can't find in Aruba).