Newborn takes 1st steps as 5-star freshman at Syracuse

first_img Published on January 28, 2014 at 2:03 am Freshman Rhiann Newborn knew that in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a professional tennis player, she must work through the confines of being home-schooled during high school.Her daily routine began with a 7 a.m. wake-up call and a workout in a gym until 8:30. Then from 8:45 until noon, she would strictly focus on her schoolwork.The next six hours consisted of eating lunch, working on more schoolwork and making time for tennis practice. Once she returned home from practice, Newborn spent the rest of the night working on homework until her day ended at 11 p.m.Her father, Darryl Newborn, said this lifestyle was essential in her development a student-athlete. Newborn is now a freshman at Syracuse and has started in singles and doubles in each of the team’s first three matches. Her past as a home-schooled tennis player has prepared her well to acclimate to college lifestyle and academics.“Tennis breeds homeschool kids,” Darryl Newborn said. “The level of kids being recruited to major D-I colleges these days are not too far from having the talent to play professional tennis.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNewborn was ranked as Texas’ top player from the time she was 12-years-old until she graduated high school. Her parents realized that the only way to enhance her development would be to travel across the country and play in national tournaments.Her schedule would change dramatically when it was time to perform in competitions. Without this structured education, Newborn would not have succeeded academically.“The pro tournaments started on Sunday and would finish next Sunday,” she said. “So if I made it far into the draw and I wasn’t home-schooled, I would’ve been missing a lot of school.”Newborn became accustomed to traveling because it required a large portion of her time each day. It took her approximately 45 minutes to an hour for traveling to the nearest practice facility from her home in Houston.When traveling to matches, Newborn spent her time working on schoolwork.“On our way to hotels, Rhiann was reading books in the car and getting homework done,” Darryl Newborn said.The decision by her parents to homeschool their daughter paid off when Syracuse head coach Luke Jensen began recruiting the five-star prospect.While Newborn garnered interest from Texas, Texas A&M and other schools in the state, Syracuse was a program that would help her meet her academic and athletic goals.Her parents received that vibe when given the opportunity to meet with Jensen about their daughter’s transition from being home-schooled to taking on a vigorous college workload.“When we spoke with coach Jensen, he explained everything to us”, Darryl Newborn said. “We were very comfortable with him.”Newborn adjusted to a college workload and managed her time. At first, the transition from a home-school education to a college schedule loomed large, as Newborn adapted to waking up for school and managing to get to class on time.She joined a program where her head coach would ensure that she would pay close attention to her studies. Jensen acknowledged the obstacles of studying in college, but said it can be overcome with hard work.“Like any freshman, being away from home was difficult. Getting used to the academic side is always very difficult,” Jensen said. “Those are just challenges and we really stress that.“To get a degree here, it’s because you actually earned it. No one’s giving you anything.”Newborn faced her fair share of obstacles when transitioning to a college lifestyle, and shows gratitude to the people that put her in an environment that will lead her to success.“I do have to send a huge thanks out to my family and all my coaches who have helped me through the years with my tennis and school to get me to where I am at now.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more