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Thursday, April 28, 2011With the season said and done and the semester winding down, the Lady Bisons bid farewell to two influential seniors, Kara Jackson and Julianne McMeen.
"We are graduating two seniors who have laid a great foundation for our team,” women’s assistant coach Jamie Aid said. “I appreciate all the hard work they have put in for their teammates and for this program. I wish these two ladies all the success in the world!"
Jackson spent four years as a Lady Bison, playing consistently at positions 1-4 throughout her career. Aid said Jackson’s willingness to compete and heart for the game were greatly respected by her coaches and teammates.
"Kara is a strong-willed, determined individual,” Aid said. “Kara always did two things for me that I respected as a coach” 1) when it was time to play, she was out there on that court to compete and 2) her heart was always in the right place.
“She will be missed next year as a part of the Lady Bisons tennis team; however, I am so happy for her as she is starting a new chapter in her life with marrying another Lipscomb grad and pursuing her passion for teaching. I have no doubt that she will be very successful"
After graduation, Jackson, an education major from Dayton, Ohio, said she has big plans for the summer.
“I'm getting married May 21st and have already begun the process of moving to our new home in Ohio and looking for a teaching position,” Jackson said.
When looking back on her career as a Lady Bisons, Jackson said she knows Lipscomb was where God intended her to be.
“My tennis career at Lipscomb has had so many ups and downs, but through it all, I know that God intended for me to be at Lipscomb and to play on the women's tennis team,” Jackson said. “I am so thankful for all of the hard work that each of my four coaches during my time at Lipscomb invested into the program.
“Any athlete has ups and downs, it's your attitude and work ethic during those times that show your true character.”
While Jackson said she will miss the laughs and companionship of her teammates, she leaves those staying behind with a few words of advice.
“I wish someone would have been able to impress upon me the importance of being able to relax and just play my game no matter what,” Jackson said. “I think that's something that every athlete has to learn, and it's what made my senior year my favorite. It's all about knowing you are blessed with a gift and enjoying that ability.”
McMeen came to Lipscomb her junior year after spending her freshman and sophomore years as a Skyhawk at the University of Tennessee at Martin. A Lipscomb high school graduate, she returned to her old courts to become a Lady Bison and finish out her tennis career.
She competed at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots throughout her two years at Lipscomb.
Aid said McMeen’s absence will leave a hole in the team’s competitiveness due to her impeccable work ethic.
"Julianne is one of those players who loves the game,” Aid said. “Her willingness to fight day in and day out is not only a trait that has served her well on the tennis court but off the court. I think it says volumes about someone when you know their work ethic, and for Ju that is a huge strength for her and has aided this team.
“We will miss that fight in practice, in matches, and even in conditioning. The work ethic Julianne has will carry her far in whatever she pursues."
McMeen will spend another year on Lipscomb working towards her requirements for pharmacy school. McMeen said she looks forward to accomplishing her goal and starting a new chapter of her life.
“I’m excited about finishing my degree and moving on to my goal of pharmacy school,” McMeen said. “It is something I’ve worked extremely hard for, and I look forward to starting the next phase of my life.”
While the next several years promise to be busy ones for McMeen, she said Lipscomb tennis will always be in her heart.
“Being a Lady Bison will always be looked at one of the greatest times in my life,” McMeen said. “I will miss the competition and the girls that I played with day in and day out, but I will never lose the game of tennis or the friendships I found on the team.”
As she parts ways with the program, McMeen leaves a word of wisdom for those Lady Bisons still in the program.
“Enjoy every minute that you’re on the court and competing,” McMeen said. “It goes by so fast, and you only live this once. You’ll never be able to have it back. So, make the most of it.”
Jackson and McMeen leave four returning Lady Bisons to carry on the program.
Junior Danielle Hansen is also parting ways with the team after three years of play. Hansen, a nursing major, will spend her senior year focusing on nursing school and clinical experience for her future career.
Hansen spent her three years in the program at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions. Her contributions to the program and the team will be greatly missed.