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A Half-Century in the Making - OU Student Dominates Kansai Tennis

To OU for Both Tennis and Study

Naoko HIGUCHI began playing tennis in her 3rd year of elementary school. A self-proclaimed “sore loser,” she rapidly improved until eventually she was able to place in the Top 16 of the national high school tournament. She practiced tennis with nearly no days off because she “didn’t want tennis to be an excuse for test scores.”

Because of this, she went above and beyond in her studies as well. While she did receive offers for sports scholarships from private universities, Ms. Higuchi told us about why she chose OU: “I’ve always wanted to become a researcher. I want to seriously study biology while also playing tennis.”

Using Frustration as Motivation for Daily Practice

Ms. Higuchi practices 2~3 hours a day with the male members of the tennis club. “I was so frustrated after losing to the same opponent from a private university 3 times in a row.” This frustration became her motivation. When the Kansai Student Tennis Tournament arrived this past summer, only 4 of the 64 entrants were from national universities. Ms. Higuchi went toe-to-toe with evenly matched opponents, but in a display of grit, she came out on top to take 1st place.

Her Goals: Make Top 8 at Nationals and Become a Researcher in the Future

“My next goal is to make top 8 at the national tournament. I want to win in the team competition as well. In the future, I want to become a biology researcher and help others,” said Ms. Higuchi about her dreams. “I’m particularly interested in the iPS cells we’ve been learning about in class. I want to fulfill my tennis goals as well as my goal of becoming a researcher,” she continued her sights set on accomplishing big things in both sports and study. Her favorite expressions is “dreams are made to come true.”

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