By Richard Pryor III
When choosing an athlete to feature, I am likely to look at their statistics over the season, and I look for dominance in multiple statistical fields to choose. However, there are no statistics in collegiate tennis. Just wins and losses. Nothing more, nothing less.
This, as you might imagine, makes it harder for me to select an athlete, as there are fewer data points to work off of. However, this week’s Athlete of the Week, Clementina Davila (C’18), a senior from Mexico City, is the top dog of Sewanee tennis, posting an impressive 13-3 record in singles matches and a 15-6 record in doubles matches with her partner Catherine Owen (C’21).
Davila entered the season with an all-time record of 34-24 in singles and 51-28 in doubles and was ranked 38th in Division III for women’s singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) alongside her ranking of 14th in the country with Owen for doubles.
In the Atlantic South region, Davila is ranked 3rd in singles (a rise from 10th at the beginning of the season) and 4th in doubles with Owen. Davila is also a Sewanee record holder, with her 66 doubles wins currently 9th all-time. Over the last four seasons, her partnership with Owen being her most successful so far.
Davila is a captain for the team this semester, and her leadership has been noted by all her teammates. Abbie Vaughn (C’20) said that as there were no captains last year, Davila has “stepped up” to be a great leader and example for the entire team, adding that she really looks up to Davila. Vaughn also said that Davila “may not be the greatest player statistically speaking,” but that she “made a mark on Sewanee history that everyone will always remember.”
When interviewed by The Purple, Davila revealed that her motivation came from Suvi Piipponen, Coordinator for Student Life, who told Davila “This is the last year you will ever play tennis for Sewanee, why don’t you give everything you have? At the end, you have nothing to lose.” Spurred on by the comment, Davila made changes to her mentality and got both physically and mentally stronger.
She credited coaches John and Conchie Shackelford and Felix Mann as the keys to her success, adding that with the support of her teammates and Piipponen, she would not be excelling this season without them.