Marquette Wire

Determination key factor in Gebes’ career

Senior changed tone after talk with head coach

Photo+by+Meredith+Gillespie%2Fmeredith.gillespie%40marquette.edu
Photo by Meredith Gillespie/meredith.gillespie@marquette.edu

Photo by Meredith Gillespie/meredith.gillespie@marquette.edu

Photo by Meredith Gillespie/meredith.gillespie@marquette.edu

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The Marquette women’s tennis team had just completed warm-ups, and all but one member of the team had congregated by the stands waiting for the lineups to be called. Senior Erin Gebes headed out to the middle court at Helfaer Tennis Stadium with a few balls and her racquet. Standing a few feet in from the baseline, she held a ball high above her head before dropping it down to the court. As the ball bounced back up in a quick, swift, graceful motion Gebes smacked the ball over the net. Only she could see her opponent as she visualized the imaginary match she was about to play.

The moment epitomized who Gebes has become over the last four years at Marquette: Someone whose internal motivation is so strong she is willing to outwork anyone. Over her career Gebes has amassed 58 career wins, consistently finishing as one of the team’s leaders in that category. Her work ethic has extended beyond the court, as she was named the Most Outstanding Senior in the College of Business Administration.

When Gebes was 4-years-old, her mother Denise was thrilled to find out that there was a new four-year-old soccer league that her hyper daughter, who was already developing a competitive spirit, could participate in.

Gebes knew she had the athletic and academic ability to become a collegiate student-athlete. The only problem was that Denver, Gebes’ hometown, was far from the best place for an aspiring tennis player. Poor weather forced her to play inside, but playing against the best meant traveling quite far.

Freshman year of high school, Gebes decided it would be best to attend John Newcombe Tennis Academy in New Braunfels, Texas. Despite feeling  motivated to play college tennis, Gebes admits to failing to push herself to put in the extra work.

After one year at the Academy, Gebes felt she had gained enough tennis acumen to enroll in D’evelyn High School, one of the best public schools in Colorado. Despite being at a premier school, Gebes still fell back on her natural athletic and academic ability, as she was unwilling to put in the extra work to hone her talents.

“A lot of times I would go to play other matches with kids and it would just end up being mini-tennis,” said Gebes. “With school I wanted to get straight A’s, but if an A was an 89.5, if I could get an 89.5, I was happy enough.”

To further her tennis career, Gebes joined the junior circuit, but there were no tournaments in Colorado, which forced her to travel all over the country, and miss as many as 30 school days a year. There was a limited number of coaches who could teach Gebes, so she would often rely on her mother to be her coach. With the weeks spent doing schoolwork, the weekends playing tennis and summers traveling playing in tournaments, Gebes was left with little time to socialize with friends. Gebes was challenged with whether the pursuit of a college scholarship was worth giving up the life of a normal high school teenager.

After one particularly rough match,  Gebes was ready to give up on tennis and adopt the lifestyle of a typical teenager. On the ride home from the match, Gebes dad, Tom, looked at his daughter.

“I’m only going to say this,” he said. “You don’t want to look back and realize you could have been better. Regret is the hardest thing in life.”

“That was the best advice I have ever received,” Gebes said.

Gebes finished high school as the No. 1 tennis player in Colorado and decided to take her talents to Marquette. Although Gebes had come a long way, when she arrived in Milwaukee, she still wasn’t the hardest worker on the team.

One practice during Gebes’ freshman year she was failing to give it her all in practice. Head coach Jody Bronson noticed and pulled her aside and sternly let her know that she needed to be giving a better effort. From that moment on, Gebes hasn’t looked back.

“I honestly don’t think I have ever had anybody who has the passion for tennis day in and day out during a long season. Gebes never wavered,” Bronson added. “It was a gift to our program to have someone like that on the team.”

Over the course of her career, Gebes has developed into the hardest worker on the team. Bronson and assistant coach Nick Kavelaris both adjusted their schedules because they knew Gebes would stop by either of their offices before practice looking to hit extra balls.

“She gives everything in practice, no matter what. If she doesn’t feel well she won’t tell you or show it,” said Silvia Ambrosio, Gebes’ doubles partner this year.

Following graduation Gebes will be starting a new chapter in her life by moving to San Jose, California, to work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers. It will be a chapter that begins with no regrets.

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Determination key factor in Gebes’ career”

  1. paul ducklow on May 5th, 2016 8:07 pm

    Erin rocks! You are an inspiration to all of us.

  2. Vince and Fran Jones on May 5th, 2016 8:39 pm

    We missed in the article how escaping to your ‘Grandparents’ unit on Kauai helped your career! Nicely done, Erin. Vince and Fran

  3. Mitch Seemann on May 6th, 2016 8:17 am

    Congrats to Erin and you two. One thing that always stood out about Erin was her ferocity on the court juxtaposed to her normalness off the court. My tennis playing daughters always looked up to her.

  4. Brian DeWolf on May 6th, 2016 9:05 am

    Erin, your commitment to excellent and hard work, your ability to apply sound advice from others, will take you to great experiences. And your dad is so, so right. Regret is the hardest thing in life. Each day we write a new chapter in our own book. Keep writing those good chapters.

  5. Cyndi Fisher on May 6th, 2016 11:42 am

    My inner grammarian commented (re – previous comment) before I even finished reading the article. CONGRATS, Erin!!! You have made amazing accomplishments in your life thus far! I am sure of your future success as you bounce into the next phase of your life!!

  6. Smitha504 on November 5th, 2016 1:02 am

    very nice post, i certainly love this web site, keep on it

  7. Erin Gebes on January 1st, 2017 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for the support to all who read and/or commented above! I am honored to have played for Marquette and learned the true meaning of hard work through college tennis.

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