URBANA – Katarina Marjanovic is a terrific tennis player, as her accomplishments attest.
But it doesn't define her. The Urbana senior's interests range far beyond tennis, whether it's as a member of the school orchestra (she plays violin), playing piano, or being involved in Book Club, Math Club or Scholastic Bowl.
Yes, she's an even better student, compiling a 32 on her ACT. Her GPA is north of 5, weighted by Advanced Placement courses. In other words, Marjanovic has worked hard to give herself options, whether in tennis or in academics.
And therein lies Marjanovic's decision these days. The 2009 News-Gazette Area Tennis Player of the Year – it's the third straight year she has won the honor – must now choose how much she wants tennis to be a part of her collegiate experience.
"I visited a couple schools (Carnegie Mellon and Washington University), and I really like the way they handle academics as the main priority, but they still have about as much tennis as I have now," Marjanovic said of the weekly time commitment.
"If you have a class and can't come to practice, it's perfectly fine. I really like that. I just don't like the D-1 view, in terms of five, six hours a day (of tennis). I like my time. I do tennis, but a lot of people think that because I'm so good I don't have a life. And that is not true at all. I have a lot of other things I want to do."
On the court, Marjanovic went 27-4, dominated the Big 12 Conference and sectional events and again reached the state singles tournament. Off the court, she's looking for the right blend of academics and athletics. She's won't look for a tennis scholarship at the expense of her academics.
"What happens if I get injured? Do I even like the school?" she said. "I know kids who have gone to a school even though they honestly hate it. There's a girl I met in Texas who said, 'I'm going to school in Virginia, but it's cold, and I hate the cold and the school, but I'm going because I got a scholarship.'"
Marjanovic said she'd still like to be on a tennis team, and that viewpoint likely was strengthened by her experience with the Tigers this fall. Marjanovic said the Tigers had better chemistry this season than any time during her career.
"It was different for me," she said. "We had a lot of new people on our team and I didn't really know them. But everyone on our team was awesome. I loved everyone. I got to meet new people that I usually just kind of see in the hallways.
"We've never had disagreements on our team in the past, but it just didn't feel the same as this year. This year we've been closer."
Now it's time to search for a new team.