From Guangzhou to Provo: BYU Tennis’ Bobo Huang

How far did you travel when you went to college? Maybe you went across the state, maybe you stayed home and made the commute. Perhaps you and a parent got in a packed van and drove across mountains, deserts, cornfields, and swamps to get to your new dorm on the opposite end of the United States.

How long was your journey? Five miles? 100? If you were extreme enough, potentially 1,000?

But what if you had to travel over 7,000 miles to a country that you have never been, to a school that you have never heard of, operated by a religion you know little to nothing about, all to be taught in a language that is not your first?

That is exactly what Bobo Huang did in 2021 when she flew from Guangzhou, China to Provo, Utah to play for the BYU Women’s Tennis team. Now in her junior season, Huang is one of the best collegiate players in the country, and her ambitions don’t end at BYU.

“My dad was the one that started to coach me when I was six,” Huang said.

Growing up, Huang hung around her dad and his friends, watching as they rallied back and forth. They were by no means professionals, but hobbyists who admired the game. She was so intrigued by the sport that she had to play for her self, and quickly realized that not only did she love it, she had a gift.

Huang’s dad was her main coach up until she was eleven, when she eventually went to Guangzhou Polytechnic of Sports, an academy where she trained for the rest of her childhood and teenage years. From there, she competed in world junior tournaments and showcased her skills for some of the best in the world.

One particular showcase Huang attended proved to be a pivotal point in her playing career.

“I had never heard of BYU,”

Bobo Huang, BYU Women’s Tennis

Huang’s only goal as a teenager was to play pro, and she didn’t even think about playing college tennis, let alone playing college tennis in Utah until she was 18.

However, at a showcase in China, Huang met Holly Hasler, the head coach of the Brigham Young University Women’s Tennis team, who came all the way from Provo, Utah in the United States.

Coach Hasler already had a connection to Huang, because Hasler’s former coach, Alan Ma, was also Huang’s.

Hasler had quite the playing career. The former BYU player was an All-American in her freshman season in 1998, and was able to turn that into a successful professional career, playing on the Women’s Tennis Association tour.

Huang saw what Hasler accomplished as a player and felt BYU gave her the best opportunity to hone her skills and become a pro.

When most American high schoolers were debating what to do in their next phase of life, Huang made the bold leap and ventured into the unknown that was American collegiate tennis.


Now in her junior season, Huang is seeing her game rise to the top level, and her goal of playing professionally after BYU is becoming more and more realistic.

BYU is in the middle of their best season in recent memory, and Huang is a major factor in that success. Huang has finally cracked the top 100 rankings and even earned Big 12’s player of the week earlier in January. She is the highest ranked player on the 40th best team in the country.

Every week is a tough matchup in the Big 12, but that just gives Huang the chance to show that she can compete with the best of the best.

“I think she’s proven that she’s worthy of that ranking,” Assistant Coach, Gabby Curtis, said after Huang’s victory against Weber State in February.

You would never suspect that Huang would be one of the best athletes on BYU’s campus. She doesn’t overwhelm you with size, and at first glance she can come across as soft spoken. But when she steps on the court, you quickly see what makes her special.

Not only does Huang wear her opponents down, her stamina is second to none, always seeming to come away victorious on long rallies.

When she finally earns the point after a hard fought rally, she’ll let out a scream that echoes through BYU’s indoor tennis courts, and will now be heard everywhere that BYU is playing outside this month. These roars are a glimpse into Huang’s true, competitive nature, and she has endeared herself to the hearts of BYU fans.

In a close loss to Oklahoma State’s Anastasiya Komar, who was ranked seventh in the country at the time, fans gawked at how Huang was able to frustrate her opponent.

“I can’t believe that she is getting these shots off,” one fan said, “She is gonna be so good,” another marveled.

While BYU fans should be grateful that Huang reps blue and white today, they will be even more proud of what’s to come. They could be looking at BYU’s next great professional athlete.

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