Chiara Tomsetti has played on the NAU Women’s Tennis Team for four years and made a name for herself in her last two seasons. Due to the effects of COVID-19, her tennis career was cut short. Although Tomasetti is now back home in Germany, sports reporter Cristiana Ramos got to chat with her about her time at NAU.
College graduation day is a day to celebrate a major achievement after long strenuous hours of school work and many anxious moments of making an 11:59 deadline. Students dress themselves in their best outfits and to officially seal the deal they wrap themselves securely in their graduation gown. The cap goes on last because it's like the cherry on top of a good sun(day). Unfortunately, the class of 2020 will not get to walk across the stage hearing their name being chanted and shaking the hands of their college mentors.
“Coming all the way from Germany that’s what you see in all of the highschool and college movies from the states. That was my dream,” senior tennis player Chiara Tomasetti said.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAU President Rita Cheng decided to “cancel the scheduled in-person Spring 2020 Commencement.” But that wasn’t the only devastating news Tomasetti received that week. On March 18, the Big Sky conference decided to end the remainder of the spring sports season, therefore ending Tomasetti’s college career.
“I didn't want to believe it,” Tomasetti said. “Short after that I kept telling myself I will never have a senior day. I will not have my last college match… I can't even organize all of my thoughts and I’m so sad at the same time.”
Looking back at Tomasetti’s three and a half years at NAU, there’s not many athletes who have made the impact she has made in a short period of time. She ended her season off holding the program all-time high ranking in the country in 44th place. She was only the fourth lumberjack to be voted Big Sky Most Valuable Player and the first to earn the ALL-Big Sky First Team Singles award for her third straight time. Tomasetti held a record of 66 singles wins in dual matches and holds the best dual match winning percentage with 86%. These are just a few of the many accolades.
“I’m just really sad I couldn’t finish off the season better,” she said. “Maybe with more records.”
One of the most pivotal moments to date for NAU and for Tomasetti’s career was during last season when Chiara clinched a Big Sky championship for her team. Tomasetti went head to head with three time Big Sky MVP, Mariana Petrei who she played during the regular season and couldn’t beat. In the final minute of the match, Tomasetti was able to win the game, it was NAU’s first Big Sky tournament title in 20 years.
“It was such a fulfilling moment for me and for the team as well that we could beat Idaho,” Tomasetti said. “It’s sweeter that I could beat Mariana the three time MVP in the conference finals.”
Being the best didn’t just mean beating the best, Tomasetti became a Big Sky Champion through patience and a lot of hard work. During her four years of training at NAU, Tomasetti’s coaches helped her become the tennis player she is today. Her coaches worked with her on the court day in and day out even when practices were over. What it taught her, was that good things come to those who work hard and wait. The ultimate key to success though was to stop comparing herself to other athletes and start trying to become a better version of herself.
Although Tomasetti’s season was cut short she hopes people will remember her and the things she did at NAU. From the busy streets of Germany to the rural Mountains of Flagstaff, Tomasetti was grateful for everyone who made her dreams possible and to be given the opportunity to play with her Lumberjack family.
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NAZ Today is a production of students, faculty, and staff working in the Media Innovation Center at Northern Arizona University’s School of Communication. The school is part of NAU’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.