Joining a new team can be intimidating for anyone — especially as a true freshman.
But newcomers Kate Cusick and Samantha Smith were able to avoid some of the intimidation when they joined the team BYU women’s tennis team together.
Growing up in Provo, Cusick was never planning on attending BYU until a move across the country changed her mind. Her parents were called to preside over the Tampa Florida Mission and the distance from Cougar Nation helped Cusick gain a greater appreciation for the BYU tennis program.
From then on, Cusick was sold on wearing BYU blue.
“I knew I wanted to come to BYU,” Cusick said. “I didn’t doubt it for a second.”
Smith also never had her sights on coming to BYU. She gained interest in joining the BYU women’s tennis team when she took an unofficial trip with her father and sister. She witnessed her father becoming emotional on the idea of seeing his daughter at BYU.
“Right when I saw my dad, I started feeling it and I just knew,” Smith said.
BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said Cusick and Smith knew each other before coming on their recruiting trips.
Before Cusick moved to Florida, she often talked to Smith at junior tennis tournaments. However, they were unable to do much outside of tennis.
It wasn’t until their recruiting trip when the two bonded and became close friends.
“I hadn’t seen Sam in four years and right when we got here, it was like I’d never moved,” Cusick said. “It was like we’ve been together forever and we became instant best friends.”
After their recruiting trip, the girls stayed in touch throughout their senior year of high school. Ever since the school year started, Cusick and Smith have been attached at the hip and are always seen doing things together. Even Jones-Spencer noticed they’re always together.
“They seem to be best friends, always doing stuff together,” Jones-Spencer said. “They’re always joking around and laughing.”
It would be strange if people saw them without the other. The girls have every class together this semester. During one class, their professor wanted to split them up into different groups but they wouldn’t do it.
“Our teacher wanted to split us up but we said, ‘We’re sorry we come in a package deal so we can’t be split up,'”Cusick said.
Cusick and Smith don’t seem to grow tired of one another. Even when stress levels are high due to college demands, they find a way to crack a smile.
“We make the whole college experience really fun, even when it’s stressful,” Smith said.
The duo has grown and learned together through their journey on the team. They feel blessed to have a best friend through the process; they lean on one another.
“It’s fun to have a teammate instead of someone you’re competing against,” Cusick said.
The two are aiming to make an impact for BYU women’s tennis when the season begins in the winter.