Q & A: Caroline Ward Strings Together Another Strong Year

With her easygoing and upbeat personality, Caroline Ward CM '16 doesn't seem all that threatening. But be warned: She is a fierce competitor. 

Ward is an impactful leader on the West Region’s No. 1-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (15-1, 4-0 SCIAC) tennis team this year, is ranked No. 5 in singles in the West Region, and teams up with Katie Kuosman CM ‘17 to complete the No. 1 doubles team. The dynamic duo won the International Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championship in October, and the two hope to one-up last season’s second-place finish in the National Championship this year. I had a chance to sit down with Ward after she defeated me in a friendly ping-pong match to talk about her strategies in play, thoughts on being an Athena and athletic aspirations. 

TSL: What’s your favorite part about playing tennis for CMS?

Caroline Ward: That’s kind of an interesting question. Right now my favorite part is being able to play for a team. In junior tennis it was all individual, but this is different because you get to play an individual sport in a team setting, in a sense that it’s a little bit more fun to have other people out there cheering for you. You’re not just playing for yourself anymore.

TSL: How does your mindset or strategy differ between playing doubles and singles?

CW: My mindset is that I like doubles more, so I tend to have more fun playing doubles, especially with Katie. With the strategy there are a lot of differences. I mean, the fact that there’s two people means you're spending more time at the net hitting more volleys, trying to have faster, shorter points. In singles you tend to have longer, grinding matches, so the pace of the play is a little bit different. I like the quicker, shorter doubles; I’m also naturally a little better at some of the things that tend to be important in doubles like hitting volleys and overhead. You can kind of get away in singles not having those skills, but it’s something that I can do in doubles.

TSL: If you could play any other sport, what would it be?

CW: I didn't really like that many sports when I was little and didn't think I was going to do that. But I would really like to get good at golf. That seems kind of boring and slow, but my whole family plays, and my brother is really good. It would definitely take a lot of practice, but it would be a good mental challenge. That would be the most fun. Tennis and golf are both individual sports and are mental games.

TSL: Who is your dream doubles partner?

CW: I love playing with Katie, but I would love to have Roger Federer as my partner—he's amazing.

TSL: What makes you proud to be an Athena?

CW: I’m proud to be an Athena because I can represent my school and spend time on the court with a bunch of really smart, driven and talented girls.

TSL: What are you most looking forward to for the end of this season?

CW: There’s definitely a lot left in our season, and I think the end is the most exciting part, especially post-regular season play. I guess I’m really excited to play Pomona and have our little rivalry. And also the regional tournament and SCIAC championship are really exciting. We always get pumped up for that. Nationals is really exciting, but you have to set your sights on getting there first.

Ward has four more regular season matches, beginning with the rivalry match against Pomona-Pitzer (11-4, 6-0 SCIAC) April 10 at 2:00 p.m., before SCIAC tournament play begins May 1.