FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – "This sounds cheesy but I really do love NAU."
Being a college student-athlete allows you to contribute not only on the court, but in the community and that is what Northern Arizona women's tennis senior Tatum Rochin has done at NAU and in Flagstaff.
"NAU is such a great family and we have such a great athletic family," said Rochin who will be competing in her final home match this Sunday against Sacramento State at 10 a.m. "I want to do everything I can to help support everyone whether it's through SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Committee) and organizing Lumberjack Cup events; I love being a part of something bigger and I knew I wanted to get involved as much as I can because I love this family."
As the season comes close to an end, Rochin is able to look back and see what a great impact she has made on the tennis program and out in the community. As SAAC officer, Rochin has helped orchestrate events to make the student-athlete life a more enjoyable experience with the Lumberjack Cup, which promotes student-athletes supporting each other on the field and in the classroom. She helped coordinate the first ever Baller's Ball, a dance for the athletes at Northern Arizona University that raised over $1,000, which was donated to the Murdoch Community Center.
After spending her first two seasons at Pima Community College, Rochin has racked up 12 singles wins and 12 victories in doubles at NAU. To start out this season in doubles along with Johanna Vang, the duo won four of their first five matches. Last season, Rochin went unbeaten with seven wins in singles and three wins in doubles.
"Last year she was our No. 7 (Singles Player) and never once did she complain," said head coach Kim Bruno. "When she did pop up, she went undefeated, which is a huge accomplishment within itself and to see her work herself into this year's lineup is well deserved."
Fast forward to this season, the native of Tucson has posted five wins in singles at the No. 5 & 6 position.
Rochin has been the perfect captain for this year's squad who had five newcomers and Rochin was a key piece in guiding these young players.
"I am really happy with how this year is turning out," said Rochin. "Last year I did not play that much but being one of the returners, I was able to give my advice to my teammates so I have learned a lot from them and they have learned a lot from me."
Throughout the season, Bruno has been able to lean on Rochin for leadership on this year's squad.
"She has been such a pleasure to work with, I just wish I had her for her entire four years," said Bruno. "She is one of those players who everyone wants in their program. She is always there to pump up her teammates or tell them when things are not going as planned."
One of those teammates she has helped mentor is her younger sister, Hailey, who is a freshman and the sister act got a chance to play Division I college tennis together, an opportunity not many sisters have the chance to achieve.
"It has been really cool to see her grow in college," said Tatum with a big smile on her face speaking about her younger sister. "Seeing her grow in tennis and off-the-court has been great and I think it is really awesome that we got to spend at least one year together and I was able to mentor her."
The senior will graduate in December with a degree in journalism. The two-time Golden Eagle award recipient has also made the AD Honor Roll and is the true definition of a student-athlete; having success on the court and in the classroom and community.