Burdick’s college tennis career doesn’t end the way she hoped

Carina Burdick
Courtesy of Carina Burdick
Carina Burdick prepares to hit a shot during a Villanova tennis match. The Wildcats didn’t win a match her freshman year, but they were off to a 7-1 start this season.

Since the state’s shelter-in-place order began in March, scores of events have been postponed, canceled or significantly altered.

For Los Altos High alumna Carina Burdick, those events include milestones such as completing her senior season on the Villanova University women’s tennis team and attending her college graduation ceremony this spring.

“In today’s age, a college degree is really what sets you up for the rest of your career, and I worked so, so hard for this. Now, I’m just going to be sitting at home instead of graduating with all my friends, peers, professors and teachers,” Burdick said. “Also, I had two days to say goodbye – maybe for a really long time – to some of my roommates and close friends. It was very unexpected; I just didn’t get enough time to say goodbye to anyone.”

The disappointment didn’t stop there, though. She also missed out on Senior Week, a time when only seniors and their families are on campus to take part in special events – something Burdick said she had looked forward to since her freshman year.

Her summer plans of traveling to Hawaii with friends and taking a trip with her boyfriend were also foiled.

“These were really my last few months to enjoy without being in the workforce, potentially for the rest of my life, so I really wanted to do a few trips,” said the 2016 graduate of Los Altos High.

It’s also been challenging for Burdick to remain home so much instead of playing tennis three to four hours a day or just going to the gym for a workout.

“It’s difficult for me because I’m a very active person,” she said.

Burdick has been active in sports since she was young. She grew up playing tennis and golf, excelling at both sports at Los Altos High.

Burdick committed to Villanova University for its great balance of academics and athletics, which she said few NCAA Division I colleges offer.

The tennis team has come a long way since Burdick arrived. The Wildcats were 0-13 her freshman year; they were 7-1 when this season came to a halt in March. Burdick – who went 4-4 in singles play – said she and her teammates had hopes of winning the Big East Conference and competing in the NCAA championships.

“It definitely hits home a little bit more because I am a senior and that was going to be my last year,” the team captain said. “It’s very sad that I’ll never be putting on a Villanova uniform again and competing for the school.”

While Villanova does offer an extra year of eligibility to senior players, Burdick has already landed a civilian job in the Navy and is looking forward to the next chapters of her life.

“I’m really grateful for that because I know there’s hundreds of thousands of college graduates who either lost their jobs or can’t find one now because of coronavirus, so I feel very lucky to even have one,” Burdick said.

In the meantime, Burdick is home with her family in Los Altos, where she completed her last semester of classes online.

“It’s difficult to balance all these things, because parents have expectations at home of what we should be doing at home, but we also still have a full course load,” Burdick said. “And then we don’t necessarily get the social interaction that we would normally need as a college student.”

Despite all the challenges, Burdick is staying active and working out daily, catching up with friends via FaceTime and Zoom and spending time with her boyfriend while remaining socially distanced.

“It’s obviously not what we want right now in our lives,” Burdick said. “But it’s what we have, so we have to make do.”

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