A Red Pepper on a Green Court: Q&A with Sophomore Tennis Player Jenna McDonald

Jenna McDonald is a sophomore member of Colorado College’s women’s tennis team. After being added to the all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference team last season, Jenna is back and wreaking havoc on opposing teams. The men’s and women’s tennis teams take on Colorado Mesa University on Thursday, April 5 at home, and they will be hosting the SCAC championships during seventh Block Break.

Ben Hall: You and Adela Burak are off to a strong start in doubles this year, and you’ve won  some individual matches as well. How have you been feeling, and what’s the end game for this season?

Jenna McDonald: I think Adela and I are a really solid doubles team. We’ve been doing well so far, so we’ll see how conference is—it’s this block break at home! It’s the first time in a while it’s been in Colorado because it’s usually in Texas, so they’re all coming here to high altitude … it’s a game changer.

BH: So you guys have a good advantage heading into the championships.

JM: Definitely. It’s hard to acclimate to the altitude since the air’s more thin and the balls travel faster. We were just in Florida for a week, and coming back we all noticed the balls were super fast.

BH: How was the team trip over break?

JM: It was so much fun and the team did really well tennis-wise; we only lost one match. Our coach was a little, I don’t want to say surprised, but he was really excited when we won.

BH: If you were a pepper, what kind of pepper would you be?

JM: A red bell pepper because I’m pretty mild. Wait, those are kind of sweet, right?

BH: They’re crunchy. They’re like subtly sweet.

JM: Yeah, I’m subtly sweet. You need a little ranch. Why’d you choose a pepper? I would’ve chosen pasta … I definitely would’ve been bowtie cause I’m fancy as heck.

BH: Well, on that note of being a mild pepper, the Desert Sun Newspaper described you and a doubles partner as a “laid back duo.” How do you feel about that characterization of your playing style?

JM: That’s so funny. I feel like I was lot more calm in high school, now I can get kind of loud on the court. I’m still a very chill player. I don’t get mad a lot … I’m just trying to have fun, hit some balls.

BH: You were getting recruited by Westminster College’s coach. Where else were you looking to play?

JM: I was?

BH: Yeah. He commented on your YouTube recruitment video.

JM: Oh no! You were so deep. I told my mom to delete that video, and she never did. Some of my friends still give me crap for that. I can’t believe you found that … I haven’t watched that in so long. It makes me cringe so hard. I’m texting my mom right now to delete that.

BH: So did you end up talking to the Westminster College coach?

JM: No. I don’t even know who that is!

BH: He left his info in the comments, and you just stood him up. So, when did you start playing tennis?

JM: I have three older siblings and they all played tennis, but I actually started playing when I was five.

BH: Tell me about your philosophy on naps.

JM: Sadly, I haven’t been taking as many naps this year as I did last year. My sleeping schedule was all sorts of messed up last year—I’d be going to bed in the AMs and I’d have to take a three-hour nap during the day. But this year I’m like a grandma; I go to bed at 12 or earlier. It’s kind of sad. I took a five-minute nap today, does that count? I still think if you feel the need to take a nap, then take a nap. Don’t deprive your body.

BH: You’re a big fan of Vines, do they tie into any other part of your life, or is that an independent interest for you?

JM: Okay no, because no one gets my references except Hiromi Kondo. Shout-out. I could’ve dropped my croissant.

Thanks Jenna for sitting down with me. Good luck this season!

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