Guamanian Charlotte Chavatipon, Texas overcomes adversity to win 2nd straight NCAA D1 tennis title | Guam Sports
When Charlotte Chavatipon, a native of Guam, joined the University of Texas women’s tennis program in 2021, she was one of five freshmen recruited by the Longhorns that year. In its inaugural campaign, laden with young talent, UT won the NCAA Division I championship.
Late last month, with five additional freshmen added to the roster, the Longhorns won their second straight championship, the fourth in school history.
“It feels good to be back-to-back champions,” said Chavatipon, 20, the daughter of Marilyn Carlos, who was born and raised in Guam and graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Guam in 1991. Being able to do it once is something most people in college want to do, but being able to do it twice in a row is amazing.
“There were more hurdles and pressure this year to defend our league title, so winning this year is just as nice as last year,” she said.
Chavatipon shared with the Guam Daily Post that winning his second title was against all odds. Earlier in the season, injuries and burnout plagued the Austin, Texas-based tennis team. Over a two-week span from February 12-25, the Longhorns lost 3 of 4 games, including a bitter 4-1 loss to the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the only team to beat UT twice. times during the 2022 regular season.
“At the start of the fall, our 11-girl squad was reduced to about five or six players due to obstacles such as injuries, mental exhaustion and illness,” Chavatipon said. “I would consider myself one of those players who struggled in the fall, so we didn’t really have a lot of squad back then.”
Change comes from within
During this uninspired tennis streak, a most unusual losing streak, Chavatipon and her teammates held private meetings to try to figure out what was going on. Although the Longhorns had already returned to full strength, they weren’t the same team that started the season on a six-game winning streak, including a 4-1 win over No. 10 University of Southern California.
“Later in the spring, everyone came back healthy and ready to play, but our team chemistry was bad,” Chavatipon said. “Because of our team chemistry, we suffered losses and faced the reality that our team had holes. So as a team we had team meetings without the coaches because we realized we had to adapt and change or the results were going to be the same.
After several player-only meetings, the Longhorns came up with and implemented a plan.
“We discussed what we wanted to accomplish, what controllable factors we can change to improve our success on the field, and the consequences if we don’t follow our new plan,” Chavatipon said. “These meetings kept us motivated and kept us on track with what we were trying to do here in Texas.”
She said she and her teammates valued each other’s opinions and wanted to sit in a room and make some changes.
With renewed motivation, Texas finished the regular season with a 10-1 winning streak, the only loss being a 4-3 loss to Big 12 Conference rivals OU Sooners. In that match, Chavatipon suffered a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Anchisa Chanta.
Although the Longhorns’ plan had been established, they were not getting the results they hoped for. But that was about to change.
After the loss to OU, the Longhorns won their final three regular season games, captured the Big 12 championships, and fought their way to the NCAA D1 tag team title.
In the Big 12 Championship, Texas defeated OU 4-2 and Chavatipon defeated Dana Guzman 6-4, 6-1. In the three-game championships, Chavatipon did not lose a singles match.
Two weeks later, Chavatipon, in the NCAA tournament in Texas, began his inspired run. After shutting out unranked Ball State University and No. 18 University of Michigan, Texas eliminated No. 14 University of Auburn, No. 5 University of Virginia and No. 1 University of Carolina du Nord before qualifying for the final.
Texas, in the championship game, beat No. 2 Oklahoma 4-1. Chavatipon, who faced Guzman, split the first two sets as the Longhorns clinched the title.
Chavatipon, reflecting on the season, credits winning the title with being able to turn the tide of what could have turned out to be a long and unhappy season.
“I believe our success this year has been in being able to overcome adversity and our encouraging team chemistry,” she said. … “I would say the main reason for our success as a team was how close and caring we are to each other as friends.”
The grind continues
With a second title in hand, there’s no slowing down for Chavatipon. Hoping to improve her world singles ranking No. 620, she took a flight to Austria.
“I plan to spend three weeks in Austria playing a few professional tournaments,” she said, adding that her goals for the summer are to get into the top 500 in the rankings or maintain her current ranking so that she can play more professional tournaments during the season. the coming school year.
She said she was looking forward to joining the Longhorns and seeing her friends, a celebratory reunion cut short by a tight tournament schedule.
“I’m actually really excited to get back to school because I want to see my friends and celebrate with them properly after our NCAA win,” she said.
the fatherland is calling
With the M25 Harmon King’s Guam World Tennis Tour, an International Tennis Federation professional tournament, currently underway at the Guam National Tennis Center, the facility is expanding from six to 11 courts and could host a women’s tour in 2023. If this happens, Chavatipon would like to participate in this tournament and visit the island for the first time.
“If the ITF adds some 25K on the women’s side, hopefully I get the chance to play them and that would be something I would love to do,” she said. “Normally I try to stay in the North American region due to travel, time change and many tournaments available, but visiting Guam and possibly playing the 25K is an opportunity I would love to have.”
A deep sadness
As Chavatipon strives to improve her rankings and yearns to reunite with her teammates, she is saddened by last week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were murdered and several others injured – just 157 miles west of campus where she trains and competes.
Chavatipon said she heard about the shooting as she was heading to the airport in an Uber.
“It’s such a tragedy that this happened,” she said. “My condolences go out to the children and adults who were slaughtered in this horrific shooting, and my prayers go out to those who are fighting to stay alive.”
“This event is something no child or adult should have to experience,” she added. “All I can say is, ‘It saddens me to hear that this happened and this is the type of world we live in.'”