By Bret McCormick
It seems like an odd description, but Catherine White was called “an aggressive player” by her Rock Hill High School tennis coach Christine Wesson on Friday morning. White is incredibly pleasant and amiable, but on the hardcourt she changes a little.
That aggression on the tennis court helped White win all 15 of her regular season tennis matches this past season en route to a sixth place finish in the state.
“She's very tough, and she's very honest,” said Rock Hill girls' tennis coach Christine Wesson. “She's just a great athlete.”
White was joined at the 8:30 a.m. signing by family and friends, including her parents Richard and Alexa. Their daughter has played competitively since the fifth grade but White said she's had a racket in her hand since she was a toddler.
“In high school it got real,” White explained. “I started getting better quickly, started doing well in USTA tournaments and it happened from there.”
The Bearcat senior also credited her personal coach, Thiago Ruffoni of Rock Hill Tennis Center, with helping her immensely in the three years they've worked together. White had interest from some other schools, but after visiting Gardner-Webb's campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., she was convinced.
“I went and stayed the night and I really enjoyed the girls,” said White, who added that the campus was really pretty. White isn't certain what she'll study yet, but she's leaning toward nursing.
As a Runnin' Bulldog, White will be happy to return to Rock Hill at least once a year to face Winthrop, as well as several other Big South Conference opponents that aren't too far from home. Friday morning she was excited, relieved, “a little bit of everything,” said White, with visible satisfaction. “I've achieved the goal.”
Bret McCormick • 329-4032. Twitter: @BretJust1T