Kaitlyn Thornhill Athlete Profile
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The diversity of UIS means we have students not only from all over the world, but also from all around the U.S. Kaitlyn Thornhill, an Alpharetta, Georgia native and freshman accounting major, is one such student.
Back in Georgia, she ranked 29th in the state in tennis when she played in high school. Thornhill is on the women’s tennis team here at UIS playing both as a singles and a doubles player.
Thornhill is a family girl. She said, “I’ve always been very close to my family. I have a 16-year-old sister named Ally who is a horseback rider. My parents are divorced, and my mom is remarried.
My dad is retired and my mom is the manager of operations for a recycling business.”
Thornhill began playing tennis when she was about 10 years old. Coming from a very competitive family, she was introduced to tennis very young by going to different summer camps.
As soon as she played her first tennis match, she fell in love with the game and the intense competition that came with it.
From then on, Thornhill always wanted to play for a college team and even plans on continuing her tennis career both as a hobby and competitively.
When her tennis career really got competitive, she decided to play in high school, where she played for all four years.
Following her high school tennis career, she said, “I wanted to play tennis for UIS because of the atmosphere I experienced on my visit.
he team is so dedicated and supportive of each other.
was determined to find a college that allowed me the opportunity to excel in academics as well as tennis.”
Thornhill explained that she always strives to be a winner, and depending on the type of player she is playing against, matches can get quite close, winning in just two sets or sometimes even having to go to a third.
Thornhill feels at home here at UIS, mentioning that “my teammates are like my family here at UIS.
They are always on the sideline, watching my matches and helping me in times of need whether it be on or off the court.”
Her teammates are her family here at UIS since she is quite far from home.
Through her year so far here at UIS, she has become quite fond of her coach, Samantha Schall.
According to Thornhill, “[Schall] is one of my biggest supporters who pushes me to my full potential.
My assistant coach (Daniel Bernal) has also been a great addition to the team, as he provides helpful advice and drills.”
Thornhill then explained that her coaches are determined and dedicated to improving the team to its full potential with the high goal set at winning conference.
Being a full-time student-athlete is definitely not easy for a young adult to handle, but Thornhill strives to maintain a high GPA, continuously excelling in her tennis, and to always be an all-around better person.
In the tennis world, Thornhill looks up to Roger Federer and Serena Williams, but when it comes to her daily life, her mother is her true role model.
“She has demonstrated hard work and dedication throughout her life as a businesswoman and a mother.”
Thornhill strives to be more like her mom every day, and she also lives by a quote said by Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady: “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
Thornhill said that it reminds her to always “push myself toward my goals and not to stay in my comfort zone.”
Though she is a recent addition to the UIS women’s tennis team, Thornhill seems like she has found her place very comfortably.
She can be seen playing here at UIS next on March 18 at 2 p.m., when UIS takes on UMSL at home.