Farmingdale, N.Y. - Farmingdale State athletic department intern, Nicholas Rooney, provides us with his first feature story of the semester. Nicholas interviewed Steven Gaudio, a junior on the men's tennis team. Read his story below.
As the spring season gets closer each day, the men's tennis team is focused on finally getting past their rivals, Yeshiva University, to win their first Skyline Conference Championship since 2013. They will be looking to Steven Gaudio, a junior and captain, to help lead them to a championship.
Steven is now in his third season at Farmingdale State College, and came into the program as a freshman prepared to win. In high school, Steven learned a lot about the mental side of tennis from his coach. He also learned what to expect from playing tennis at the collegiate level from his older brothers who played college tennis themselves. But even though Steven felt prepared entering into his freshman year of college, he still learned a lot about his own game and strategy. He attributes his two coaches at Farmingdale, Adam Waterhouse and Rich Hume, with teaching him a lot about tennis strategy. When I asked Steven what he learned from his freshman year he told me, "I was just a big hitter in high school and I would just crank balls. It got me so far, but to get to the next level, I needed to keep the ball in more and be more consistent, and not play someone else's game, but play my own."
Steven also told me that he learned how to lose during his first year at Farmingdale State. He said, "I learned to lose and keep my head. Going in, I was one of the top players in the county, and I kind of had a hot head in high school as far as losing points and losing matches. I learned how to learn from my losses."
Another big part of Steven's freshman year was the relationships he gained with the upperclassmen on the tennis team. Steven lived in the dorms during his freshman year and said those on the team living in the dorms came and helped him out. He said that the veterans invited him in and now he is getting to play that role with other kids on the team.
Steven's current role as team captain, and the overall look of the 2020 tennis team, has him excited for the upcoming season. He said that this year's team is different. They have a lot of returning players and others coming back from injury. I asked Steven about how the tennis team needs to improve this year and he said, "We have a lot of depth this year which is good. Last year we lost in the finals to Yeshiva, who is always our rival. I mean, we all performed really well, but we needed a stronger lineup all around and that's what we have this year which is big." Steven also told me that he is trying to motivate the guys to be fully committed to the team and come to practice and work hard.
Steven is confident that with this year's lineup and the right focus, they can snap Yeshiva's six-year championship streak and bring the Skyline Title back to Farmingdale State in 2020.