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The Antelope

The Antelope

Melisa Becerra involved off and on the tennis court

Melisa Becerra went 13-6 in doubles matches last season. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff

Melisa Becerra is thriving in Kearney. 

The international student-athlete who’s back for her third year of tennis chose to extend her athletic career in small town Nebraska, after growing up in a very different city. 

“I was for sure on knowing that I wanted to play tennis in the United States,” Becerra said. “Before coming here, I never would’ve thought I’d end up in Nebraska until I talked to my coach.” 

It only took Becerra three days to know that Kearney was the place for her.  

Melisa spent 18 years of her life growing up in Bucaramanga, Columbia, with a population of 581,130. Where extreme changes in weather is not something people have to prepare for and yet she was intrigued with the small community Kearney had to offer. 

“It was hard for me to adapt, but I guess I just pushed myself socially, academically and with the athletic program as well,” Becerra said, “I’ve also had the help of my peers and teammates pushing me.” 

Becerra is a researcher for her program of study, a member of the feminist organization Women are Problematic and helps with UNK global orientations. She is also a part of the multi-cultural sorority on campus and is a key player on the tennis team.  

Her teammates have admired her growth not only as a player but also as a person.  

“I have seen Melisa grow in many ways than one can imagine,” said Thi Huynh, a senior on the tennis team. “Melisa opened herself to joining many student organizations and activities that follow her passions. She can manage her many activities while being an exceptional student-athlete. She has learned to firmly stand up for what she believes in. To be confident in your beliefs and expressing them in your second language is quite the feat.” 

After two seasons, Becerra’s been named Honorable Mention, All-MIAA at No. 1 Singles, second team All-MIAA at No. 1 Doubles and MIAA Academic Honor Roll.  

The junior tennis player is planning to stay in Kearney to further her education and athletic career for the rest of her undergrad.  

“Overall, my time in Kearney has been so meaningful and gratifying,” Becerra said. “I’m sure that I was meant to be here for several reasons and seeing the great outcomes and all the growth that I have achieved is ineffable. I have met wonderful individuals, joined several organizations and identified the things I want to pursue and look forward to accomplishing after this cycle. I’m very grateful.”

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