BY BENJAMIN HADLOCK – SPORTS EDITOR
Centre Women’s Tennis Abigail Kent has competed all over the world—and now she’s committed to spending her next four years in Danville, Kentucky. What brought Abigail here—passion for tennis, academics and international studies—is best summed up by one word, fate.
Abigail was born in College Station, Texas, where she spent the first few years of her life. Everything changed for Abigail and her family when they moved, and not across the state or country, but over to the other side of the world. At a mere seven years old, Abigail was immersed in a whole new culture in Doha, Qatar.
In Qatar she attended an American School in which 75 nationalities were represented and over 2,000 students attended. Here, she began to pursue competitive tennis and developed a passion for the game. As this passion turned into dedication, she soon found herself in places such as New Delhi and Dubai playing in tennis tournaments. It was during these international tournaments she learned some of her most important lessons both on and off the court.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Abigail. Giving further description of her unique experience, Kent stated “seeing players from other countries and knowing that tennis was their only way out of their country… l was fortunate to be able to learn from their experiences.”
These life lessons had become a part of Abigail and she was ready to embrace them as she began her next journey: moving back to the United States.
At age 16, she began boarding school in her home state of Texas. Here, she continued pursuing tennis competitively; maturing in her game and in life as she spent time away from her parents. “I had a lot of independence at a young age which helped prepare me for college.”
After a year and a half at school in Texas, Abigail made her dream of playing college tennis a reality. She packed her bags once again and moved out to California to attend University of Redlands.
Her time in California, however, was short-lived.
After sustaining a serious eye injury and taking a medical leave of absence, her college search began again. It was while she was bedridden and blind in one eye when she made the call to Curry Martin—head coach of Men and Women’s tennis at Centre College.
“I didn’t think I was going to come here, but I had a talk with Coach Martin and I realized they were moving in the direction I was interested in as far as a culture of success. They really wanted to improve the Women’s team as well as have a high focus on academics”
After her visit, she was sold.
“I absolutely loved it. The culture of the school was exactly what I was looking for”
So from Texas, to Qatar, then back to Texas, and out to the West Coast, Abigail’s journey has been nothing short of astounding. Now, settled in the small town of Danville, she feels positive about what the future holds. “There is such a good culture here, trying to do our best in whatever we are doing. It’s a good thing to be around because it pushes you to be the best you can be.”
The approaching intercollegiate fall tournament also signals Kent’s Centre debut. With new talent on the team, the excitement from this fall will surely carry over to the spring season as the women look to build on last year’s success.