It’s a Racket!

Nico Roth is making his final swings for the Men’s Tennis Team

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  • Nico Roth, senior, works with his form at practice.

  • As the ball flies toward Nico Roth, senior, he takes a step back and swings.

  • Nico Roth, senior, slides towards the ball while practicing for an upcoming match.

  • Nico Roth preps for a serve.

  • Nico Roth, senior, swings for the ball while at practice.

  • Nico Roth, bottom right, takes a moment to hang out with his teammates.

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Jazmin Scarberry

The class of 2023 is wrapping up its final spring semester, along with the athletes finishing off their last collegiate seasons.

Nico Roth, senior, and member of the men’s tennis team, the men’s soccer team, and an international student from Senegal has been reminiscing on his time playing.

“I started playing as a kid because tennis was a family thing. I stopped after three or four years because I was interested in other sports,” says Roth.

Once arriving at Ferrum, Roth was able to make the right connections to get him back involved with tennis. He says he knew some guys already on the team.

 “My first year in the team was very special, so I’ll say that all of the people in the team at the time were notable. But if I have to give names, my fellow seniors last year, Patrick Marsh, Jacob Glass, and Tomas Doherty,” Roth remembers.

Many people may think since Roth is not from the United States he struggled to find his group, but that was not the case. Roth is involved in multiple sports and says he has been able to make bonds that will remain after he graduates.

“I started playing for the tennis team after Coach (Rod) Baker asked if I was interested in playing. I already had good basis and knew some of the guys on the team, so I accepted his offer,” Roth says.

Coach Baker met Roth through his involvement with the soccer team.

“Nico has such a positive attitude and a very hard work rate. He is also extremely coachable. He picks up things quickly!” Baker says

Roth performed well recently in his game against Greensboro College, according to Baker.

“He had a great comeback to help solidify the team’s win. In doubles and singles!!!” Baker beams.

The men on the team seem to have a tight bond that sets them apart from many other groups on campus. 

“Something I have noticed and like about the men’s tennis team is that they are always together. I never see only one of them on campus, they move together,” Jacob B. Stephens, junior and former tennis assistant, says.

According to Roth, the team consists of reliable friends.

“We are all friends in the men’s team… I know that if I ever need them they will be there to help,” Roth says.

Roth has gotten the opportunity to travel around the East Coast while competing for the Panthers. He says the overnight trips are a lot of fun.

“My favorite memory in the tennis team was the overnight trip to Virginia Beach last year. It was a lot of fun, and we all got closer after that day,” Roth says.

Roth speaks to the young class on the team with positivity and encouragement.

“The freshmen on the team this year have a lot of potential,” he says. “I don’t have a lot of advice for them except to not get in their heads too much. Tennis is a mental sport. Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and slow down instead of getting frustrated by one point or set that you lost,” Roth says.

Spirits stay high when Roth is around, according to teammate Hunter Hooper, sophomore.

“Nico is a really cool teammate. He’s the type of guy who makes it feel like you’re doing the best you can. He always stays relaxed, and it really helps the team.,” Hooper says.

Hooper has been on the team with Roth for about four months now and sends his luck Roth’s way after graduation.

“Good luck in your future plans. You’re gonna dominate whatever you choose to do,” Hooper says.

Baker says he will also miss having Roth around.

“He is what I like to call a quiet leader. He doesn’t speak up a lot, but his actions speak way louder than his words. So everybody sees him work and grind, and that’s what I’m gonna miss the most, well that and his sunshine attitude,” Baker says.

Roth had a season record of 1-6 in singles and doubles competitions last year. He is hoping for a good final season of competition be for retiring as a collegiate athlete.

“I will probably still play as a hobby since it’s a fun sport,” says Roth.

Roth’s next upcoming match will be against Roanoke College in Salem, VA on April 4.