Verena Schmid is a two-time NCAA champion with Barry. The German native has one more season with the Bucs and answered some questions about her athletic, academic, and personal life. Enjoy!
You joined Barry after having gone to University in Germany for one year. What made you decide to go to college in the US?
I played Tennis professionally, therefore I was used to travel a lot. When I went to University in Germany I realized that I want to experience something else in my young age. Since I knew a lot of players in the US I kept asking them about their college life and I realized that this is my chance to do something else.
You saw some great success as a college player including two NCAA team titles. Try to describe the experience of going into the NCAA tournament and winning it… twice
In my first year, I was super excited and also a bit nervous at the beginning because I did not know what to expect there. Anyways, my team and I were super pumped to win this title and we knew we have the chance to do so if we all keep fighting together and I could not have had a better team by my side. Literally, we were not only a team, we were family. Everybody pushed each other until we had the trophy and the ring. This year we did it again, back to back. Same story, different year. The Barry family kept fighting until we had that ring again and I could not be more proud of my team. I hope we will do it in my last season again.
What do you enjoy most as a student-athlete and why?
This one is a tough question because I enjoy a lot of things as a student-athlete. First of all, Miami is not a bad place to study. I love the beaches, the weather and the beautiful places Miami has to offer. Besides, I like to hangout with my teammates and friends who live on campus as well. It is so nice how many different international people you get to know who you become lifelong friends with. I would already consider my teammates as a little family since we hang out a lot; not only on the court.
What was your biggest challenge as a student-athlete and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge as a student-athlete was the semifinal from the Nationals in 2017. This was my first year and therefore my first season at Barry and I was the deciding match against BYU Hawaii. Thankfully, I had some experience in my tennis career was used to play under pressure. My team supported me from the sideline and I knew I am not playing alone although you are standing on the court by yourself. I did not focus on winning or losing, I was focused on playing each point and not to overthink the situation in which I was in.
Try to explain the value of tennis. What does it mean to you and how does it impact your life?
Tennis is a very important part of my life. I am playing tennis since I am 4 years old and this sport taught me a lot about life. You are on the court by yourself and you have to keep pushing and fighting. Obviously, there can also be rough times like injuries or a losing streak but you can never give up until there are better times again. Additionally, tennis brought me so much joy and so many good people and friends in my life.
What would you like to say to Barry players, fans, staff, and coaches?
It has been a pleasure so far to play for the Barry tennis team and I want to thank my teammates and coaches for the successful two years. And please let us win another trophy and get that ring one more time because next year will be my last season as a student athlete 😉
Has there been a specific person in your life that influenced your tennis career the most? A parent, a coach, a friend, etc.? How did that person impact your life?
Well, not only one person influenced my tennis career but for sure my whole family. First of all, because of my siblings, I started playing tennis and believe it or not, I forced them to play with me already as a little child although they are a few years older than I am. Nevertheless, without the support of my parents financially as well as time-wise I would not have come this far. I could never thank them enough for all they have done for me such as the countless hours on the road to tournaments and practices.
What or who motivates you? What keeps you pushing forward and continue to work hard each day?
I do not need anyone who motivates me since I am a very ambitious person and I want to be successful for myself and of course for my team. I am not trying to be the best on the team, but I am trying to be the best for the team. Every athlete hates losing and so do I. Therefore, I keep pushing forward and work hard each day in order to win as many matches as possible. In addition, I love sports and I love working out which makes it easier for me to keep pushing.
What role does academics play in your personal development?
Academics is an important part of my life and of course for the future. I am studying Sports Management and I am looking forward to work in that area one day. It really interests me and I am excited what the future holds for me. Furthermore, you learn to be focused and you learn time management since you have to work hard for tennis as well as for college.
Do you have some piece of advice for aspiring tennis players that would like to go to college?
College is a great experience which offers you a lot of opportunities for your future. You get to know so many different people from all over the world and you learn to speak another language fluently. If you love the sport you do, you will not regret going to college. Keep working hard and always chase your goals and dreams.