Williams passes Lewis for most college wins by an Alaskan

November 23, 2017

Whitney Williams tennis

Whitney Williams

Back in 2009, Whitney Williams moved to Alaska and the first opponent she faced in her first tennis tournament was Emma Lewis.

It’s fitting because the two players have been linked ever since.

The younger Williams beat Lewis in three sets that day, but since then she’s always looked up to Lewis, who is four years older.

Lewis won three state singles titles at South High before Williams was a freshman but then Williams won three state singles titles.

Lewis went on to play at D3 Bowdoin College in Maine, where her 125 career victories were the most by an Alaskan at the NCAA level. Williams only dreamed she could mirror that success when she went to D1 Abilene Christian in Texas.

Emma Lewis Tennis

Emma Lewis

She actually did better.

Williams has logged 157 career victories with the spring season still to be played, meaning she’s got a shot at 200.

“It’s pretty amazing because I didn’t come to college and set out to have the wins record for college players from Alaska, but it’s very exciting to see all the hard work I put in to show and to be rewarded for that,” she told me.

Williams has gone 69-44 in singles and 88-34 in doubles. She has earned all-conference honors in each of her three seasons and collected a half dozen tournament titles, all in doubles.

“I didn’t know I would be a part of making this leap in Alaskan history, but I feel very honored,” she said. “There’s not a particular number I want to get to because I want to win every match I play. However, I want to come out of my college career with the record being a lot bigger than 157.”

Being the rare college tennis player from Alaska is how most people know her on the college tennis circuit.

“I am the player from Alaska for sure,” she said. “The refs at tournaments remember partially because I’m from Alaska. I’ve made some amazing relationships and connections with others because of being from the amazing state of Alaska.”

She arrived in Alaska by way of Louisiana in 2009 already armed with a good game but credited man Anchorage coaches for helping her reach new heights.

“Paul Hemry, Jimmy Kayango and Aaron Haines helped me really improve during my time in high school by competing with me and playing against me,” Williams said. “My trainer was Mike Swetnam, who helped me ton. He got me prepared to be physically ready to compete during high school and in preparation for college.”