Tennis player redefines “switch hitter”


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) — As a college senior ready to hit the job market, Lauren Edwards sees it’s all about who you know. From a young age, she was passionate about tennis, and it was a connection that got her noticed by the Rose-Hulman squad.

“I knew about Lauren from her days at Franklin High School,” Coach Dan Hopkins said. “Her coach over there, he and I are like best friends, so he explained to me what I was going to get.”

“My goal was to just play my last year of high school and have fun with the friends,” said Edwards. “I actually didn’t know I was going to play for Rose until a week before, when coach called asking for my uniform size.”

Edwards has been a leader on the team for four years, and she’s had a lot of success. But she says the best part might be that it takes her mind off engineering homework.

“Just the break from college,” Edwards said of the best part of college tennis. “Just to have that other side of college and to see the athletes. Meet a lot of different girls who have different majors. It’s nice to get that diversity, especially from the monotonous homework.”

But as much as she loves the game, in high school she almost lost her chance to play at all.

“I thought I was never going to play tennis again after my junior year,” said Edwards. “I was very upset because it was going to be my senior year and I wasn’t going to play. And I’d see all my friends playing.”

Growing up in rural Indiana, Edwards was always working on the farm. Her hard work caused her to tear ligaments in her right elbow and it required major surgery. But instead of giving up, the right-hander re-learned the game of tennis with her left.

“It started off really rough,” Edwards said. “I spent about six months in a cast. Intially, I was just feeding balls to myself and drop hits, trying to remember the muscle memory from my right side onto my left and just do the basic strokes. So it took quite a while, but it was worth it.”

Edwards came to Rose Hulman with a new game. Twice, she’s been an honorable mention all-conference with her left hand. For her, it’s been a lesson in perseverance.

“If you really want to do it, you can make it happen,” Edwards said. “I may not be up to the level I was used to at, but I’ve been able to have fun and I’ve been able to enjoy the sport. And that’s all I really care about.”

“She has a no-die attitude about things,” said Hopkins. “She’ll go out there and I think you can pretty much count that she’s going to be in it in almost every match that she plays.”