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the Covenant experience narrative

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In My Words: Tennis Player Austin Dreslinski '24

man holding tennis racket

Playing tennis at Covenant these past four years created so many amazing memories that I will never forget. Coach Hirte and Coach Chris invested in me and have helped shape me into the player I am on the court and the person I am off the court as well. 

From Basketball, Baseball, and Soccer to Tennis 

Coming from a very large public high school, Covenant was a big change for me, but a change I am very grateful for. The professors invested a lot into me in the classroom, which is not something that you get at a big state school. The professors at Covenant embody the mission of the college "to explore and express the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things." I am blessed to have attended a college that allows you to continue to grow in your faith with a great community of believers around you who are walking alongside you. 

male playing tennis

Growing up I played many different sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis. Considering tennis was the last sport I picked up, I am surprised that I ended up choosing tennis as my primary sport. However, participating in all of these sports helped me reach my full potential on the tennis court along with the skills needed to be a student-athlete. My experience playing different sports in my middle school years allowed me to make friends and find a community of believers even in a secular school. This community was not always easy to find, but I am very thankful for groups such as FCA that helped me continue to stay in the word. 

From the University of North Georgia to Covenant

When I first began to look at schools to continue my academic and sports career, Covenant was not a school I had ever heard of. Being late to the search process forced me to attend the University of North Georgia for a year before looking into schools to continue my athletic career. Covenant College just happened to pop up when I was looking around at different places, and from then on I felt a pull on my heart to visit. After meeting with Coach Hirte and the team, I knew that this is where I wanted to be. 

From Team Culture and Community to Instilled Values

The culture Coach Hirte created on the team was contagious. Through conversations with him and the team, I could feel that something was different here at Covenant than at other schools I had visited. I also got to talk with former player Cameron Cortman ’22 who raved on about the community here at Covenant on the team and around campus. Another teammate, Gill Dunn ’23, also emphasized how great the Covenant community is and about how Coach Hirte encouraged the team to be in God’s Word and to grow in our faith as athletes.  

A motto on our team the past two years has been "gritty," which started as a joke but became a word that our team embodies going into each and every match. Chris Cox, our assistant coach, is someone that has always preached the never-give-up mentality, and he has changed the way I look at the sport of tennis and the way I compete on a daily basis. Tennis can be lonely at times, but Coach Chris would continuously encourage us to fight for the guys on and off the court. Even when I felt like it was just me on the court, he would point to all the guys that continued to cheer me on each and every point. As I transition into the next stage of my life, I will remember the lessons and encouragement that Coach Chris instilled in me. 

From Teammates to Lifelong Friends

Lastly, my teammates throughout the past four years have become lifelong friends that I am beyond thankful for. The memories of long bus rides, flying out of state, and making the national tournament will forever be some of my favorite memories. My teammates have pushed me to become a better tennis player but most importantly have helped me grow in my faith. In times of weakness and sadness, my teammates walked alongside me, continuing to encourage me when I needed it the most. 

As my time at Covenant has come to an end, I am sad but also happy when I look back at all the great memories I have had. I am fortunate that the Lord placed me on this campus with such amazing students and professors, which is something I will always be thankful for.

This article was originally published on Covenant’s athletics website.

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