May 25, 2019 | 69° F

Veteran guides team in final year on Banks

Being a senior at Rutgers can be a difficult thing for any student, let alone the captain of the tennis team trying to get into medical school.

But that is exactly what Leonora Slatnick does. Working toward graduation with a major in cell biology and neuroscience, Slatnick performed above and beyond expectations both on the court and in the classroom.

“It’s difficult being an athlete and being pre-med at the same time because there’s a lot of time constraints,” Slatnick said. “Tennis has taught me how to balance and how important it is to make sacrifices for what I want to do later in life.”

Between waking up a 7 a.m. to lift, practicing tennis for three hours a day and traveling to tournaments across the East Coast, finding time to study in a strenuous field is practically impossible.

Not only has Slatnick continued to be a leader for her team, but she also found time to score in the top percent on her MCATs.

“Leonora is a very hard working athlete,” said Scarlet Knights head coach Ben Bucca. “She is very disciplined in what she does, and she is so determined on the court. For example, in her match last weekend she wasn’t feeling well, but she didn’t use that as an excuse.”

Slatnick’s perseverance made her a standout student-athlete for Rutgers, and she hopes her hard work will set an example for her teammates.

“It actually feels really weird being a senior, but I love it,” Slatnick said. “Me and the rest of the seniors get along really well. It’s fun being in charge of the team, deciding on what we do and pretty much being a role model for our younger kids.”

With the senior leadership the Knights have, Slatnick remains confident her team will find plenty of success this season.

“In my experience, every time the team is cohesive and gets along, that’s when we play our best tennis,” Slatnick said. “So that’s a huge factor for us. We have a really competitive team this year with a lot of talent, and three freshmen that bring a lot to the table. I’m really excited to see how we do this year.”

Slatnick knows leading Rutgers to a Big East title will not be easy, and although her leadership is an important key to its future accomplishments, the Knights also have to keep up the same winning drive.

“There’s a whole new dynamic to this team, especially with all the freshmen and because we lost one of our seniors.” Slatnick said. “By the end, it’s very hard to come to practice and keep up the intensity everyday. It’s exhausting. I think our biggest challenge is maintaining a high level throughout the competition season so we can win the Big East.”

Slatnick is a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete at Rutgers.

She knows about sacrifices in order for her to achieve her goals. Even with her final year looming, Slatnick remains as selfless and determined as she was when she first arrived from Austin, Texas.

If there is one thing Slatnick learned through her four years, it is what it takes to be a winner, as well as a role model.

“It’s about representing Rutgers as a whole and not just playing for yourself,” she said.

By T.J. Nagy

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