SE: Starting Strong | Get to Know Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton

To watch Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton's video Q&A with K-StateHD.TV, please click here

  

Every month, K-State Sports Extra features a new student-athlete in its monthly Q&A special. We’ve switched things up this month and featured two K-State tennis freshmen, Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton. 

Garcia Navas and Stretton both came to K-State from Europe in August and have since become quick friends. 

“We are very pleased with both Ana and Millie,” said K-State tennis head coach Danielle Steinberg. “I don’t know if it’s because they became instant best friends or simply because of their personality, but this has been the easiest freshman transition I have had since I started coaching.” 

The two are inseparable. They are roommates, teammates and best friends.

“We probably spend like 15 hours a day together,” laughed Garcia Navas. 

Garcia Navas comes to K-State from Valencia, Spain. She reached as high as No. 28 in the competitive Spanish national rankings before finishing her high school career ranked No. 48. The freshman competed with Club de Tenis Burjasot near Valencia and won several national tournaments, including the Regional Valencia U18 Tournament in 2013. 

“I’m really comfortable here and comfortable with my coaches,” said Garcia Navas. “At the beginning, it was really hard for me to make the transition, but now I’m getting used to it, and I really like it. For me, I didn’t speak English very well when I got here, so it was very difficult.”

Though the language barrier was difficult at first, it did not last long. Garcia Navas said Stretton was her biggest help in learning the new language.

“She’s improved a lot,” Stretton said with a smile.

Hailing from historic Edinburgh, Scotland, Stretton comes to K-State as the No. 2 player in her country and reached as high as No. 414 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings. Born in London, she competed with Great Britain in the Winter Cup, a European team championship. 

“Everybody wants you to do well and wants you to be successful in all aspects here, and I really like that,” said Stretton about her time at K-State so far. “I think it’s helped me to improve a lot. I think we’ve adjusted well to how much we play and to all the different things going on in school. I’m enjoying it.”

Both Stretton and Garcia Navas are off to a great start this season. At the team’s season-opening tournament, the OU Invite in Norman, Oklahoma, Garcia Navas went 3-1 in singles action while Stretton picked up a pair of wins.

“Millie has a big game, and we are working on a lot of things right now,” said Steinberg. “As long as she keeps working as hard, she has a bright future for us, and Ana had a great first tournament at Oklahoma with several quality wins. In my opinion, she established she can be one of the top players in our region, and I am excited to see her compete against the best next week (in the ITA Central Regionals), and see that fire once again.” 

K-State is coming off of a strong finish to this past weekend’s SMU Fall Tournament as the Wildcats combined to go a perfect 7-0 across singles and doubles on the final day. Though Garcia Navas did not compete in preparation for regionals, Stretton closed out the weekend with wins on Saturday and Sunday to win the consolation side of the Black Singles draw. 

Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the ITA Regional Championships at Greenwood Tennis Center from October 15-18.

“Both of them had an instant positive impact on the team,” said Steinberg about her freshmen. “Millie is hungry to get better and gives us her 100 percent every day, which I absolutely love, and the same time, she is also able to keep things light and can make the team laugh in an instant. Ana might be a little quiet at first, but she is the most competitive person on the team and she brings that competitive edge and fire with her to whatever we do. Her drive and passion for competition is something you cannot teach.”