Paula Garrigas, an international student hailing from Barcelona, Spain, is one of the star players on GC’s women’s tennis team, being cited by faculty as one of the main factors that brought the team to the Peach Belt Tournament.
Now in her second season at GC, Garrigas said she looks forward to playing as well in 2019 as she did last season when she racked up an impressive 30-12 record. Her singles play was also notable, winning 18 of her 20 matches over the same time period.
“I’m really excited for the season,” Garrigas said. “Hopefully we will do as well as we did last year. We have a pretty good team, so I am hopeful.”
As a rising star in Spain, she reached her highest national ranking of No. 120 before coming to the U.S. to compete. Garrigas initially began college in New Orleans before becoming a Bobcat.
“I’m a transfer, so I was in New Orleans for two years and then I decided to come here,” Garrigas said. “GC was the best offer I got at the time I also talked with the athletes on the team and asked how was the coach because I was really concerned about that, and they told me he was super nice.”
Steve Barsby, head coach for the women’s and men’s tennis programs at GC, was quick to praise the contributions that Garrigas has made to the team.
“Paula has been a great asset to our team over the past year and a half,” Barsby said. “She has been a good team leader and put up an amazing amount of wins for the team. Paula was one of the main reasons we made it to the Peach Belt Tournament final in 2018 with her consistent play, and I am looking forward to her delivering again this year.”
Garrigas said she has built close relationships on the team and is grateful for the strong fit she has found on campus.
“This is my fourth semester, and it’s been great,” Garrigas said. “Everyone is super nice and really friendly. I feel like everyone is so close here.”
Garrigas is part of an increasing trend amongst foreign student athletes.
“Back home we don’t have university team sports, and I didn’t want to give up tennis or my studies, so I wanted to do both, and my agency helped me to find a great place,” Garrigas said.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, there are currently 17,000 students athletes from other countries among the roughly 480,000 students that participate in NCAA sports. Roughly 3.5 percent of student athletes in the U.S are international.
“I’m going to graduate after my summer class, so in June, and I’m going to go back home [trying] to get my master’s degree,” Garrigas said.“I’m applying right now...I really want to get my masters in event planning. I’m a management major right now, but I really want to get in that field.”
Photos courtesy of GC Sports Information