Jan. 10, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery and associate head coach Cedric Kauffmann recently completed a week-long trip to Hawaii with members of the 2012 Kentucky men’s tennis team.
The trip was both productive and fun for the Wildcats as the squad competed in a two-day individual tournament against the University of Hawaii and visited some of the best tourist stops in the world as a team. This is the second time the Wildcats have made the trip to the Aloha State in the past four years.
“It was a great opportunity for us to go somewhere as a team and have time together to regroup and set our goals for the upcoming season,” UK senior Alex Musialek said. “I can’t think of a better place to do that then Hawaii. It was a great thing for our team.”
Kentucky, which got valuable hours of practice time outdoors that will help the young squad throughout the season, performed very well in the Rainbow Warrior Challenge against Hawaii. Overall, the Wildcats went 15-4 in singles action and 6-2 in doubles play. Seniors No. 5 Eric Quigley and No. 13 Musialek, along with junior No. 36 Anthony Rossi and sophomores No. 85 Panav Jha, Ryuji Hirooka and Maks Gold each went 2-0 in singles play to led UK.
“I think the trip went really well overall,” Quigley said. “For us to be able to get that much practice time outdoors was really productive for our team, along with the fact that we got some good team bonding in as well. Hawaii had some good players on its team and it was good to get back on the court and compete again against some quality competition.”
When the team wasn’t practicing or playing in the Rainbow Warrior Challenge, they did take some time to be tourists. The team saw several local attractions including visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, the site of the Dec. 7, 1941 attacks that launched America’s entrance into World War II.
“To be honest, if I would have stayed in France and not come to Kentucky I don’t think I would have ever been able to go to Hawaii in my life,” Musialek said. “The fact that me and Eric have now been twice is unbelievable. I just want to thank the university and our coaches for believing in us and making a dream come true for me.”
The team also spent time snorkeling and visited the Hanauma Bay Nature Park, which is a curved bay that was declared a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park in 1967. The bay is known for a diverse population of marine life and large coral reef.
Along with visiting Lanikai Beach, which was voted one of the top-10 beaches in the world by National Geographic’s The 10 Best of Everything, the players and coaches wrapped up the trip by walking up the Diamond Head volcano, which is known as one of the most famous volcanic craters in the world. The volcanic crater is a remarkable 3,520 feet in diameter and has a 760-foot summit.
“I am very grateful to get to go on a trip like this,” said Quigley, who was making his second trip to Hawaii as a member of the men’s tennis team. “A lot of schools don’t get to take trips like this so it was great that our administration thought highly enough of us to send us to this event. I know that this experience will really help our team in the long run.”