Eudice Chong ’18, a recent graduate and four-year linchpin of women’s tennis, was announced this week as winner of the prestigious Division III Honda Athlete of the Year award.
Chong won the award this year after having been nominated for the prize all four years at Wesleyan.
“It is such an amazing honor to be receiving such a prestigious award, and these chances only come once in a lifetime,” said Chong in an interview with the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards. “Receiving this award means especially more because it shows that I’ve made an impact in some way or other throughout my collegiate career, and that I finished my four years giving it everything I’ve got. As an athlete of any sport, it means so much to see your hard work recognized, and in my case, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who have helped me get where I am and who continue to provide unwavering support.”
There is little doubt that Chong is one of the best, if not the best, athletes in all of Wesleyan’s history. Coming out of high school in Hong Kong, Chong was recruited by several Division I schools, including Harvard University, but ultimately settled on the Cards in DIII. Since making that decision, Chong has won five different NCAA Titles—four singles championships and one doubles championship—amid numerous other tournament victories in both singles and doubles.
Chong first began taking tennis lessons when she was six years old but only took the sport seriously when she turned 11. When she was just 18, she represented Hong Kong at the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea. Upon reaching Wesleyan, Chong embarked on a four-year-long conquest of DIII tennis, where she became the most dominant player in the entire country. Chong won the DIII Singles Championship her first, sophomore, junior, and senior years, a first for all college tennis players in the NCAA. She has also been named by both the NESCAC and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) to their honorary first teams in singles and doubles all four years. Moreover, this season, Chong was named the ITA National Senior Player of the Year.
In her junior year, Chong captured the NCAA DIII Doubles Championship with partner Victoria Yu ’19, the first time in 13 years that a DIII women’s tennis player won both titles in one season. During her senior season, Chong won the singles title and the doubles along with Yu at the DIII ITA Oracle Cup, giving the two Cards entrance into Oracle ITA National Fall Championships, where they reached the quarterfinals in the doubles draw against top Division I opponents.
Chong finishes her singles career 103-6, the all-time leader in victories at Wesleyan. But her tennis success and goals continue into the professional scene. During her time not in Middletown, Conn., Chong has participated in professional tournaments sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation and has been ranked as high as 569th in the world in singles and 752nd in the world in doubles. In a previous interview with The Argus, Chong was optimistic about her potential success on the pro tour.
“I did have a really good summer before this, playing tournaments, so I got a little taste of playing more full-time and actually traveling a lot and training,” Chong said in September. “I think that kind of helped me see where my level stands compared to other players, and I think if I do manage to train well and take care of my body and do well in tournaments, I could have pretty good success, I’d say, but I’m not trying to look into the future too much, just try and concentrate on what I have now.”
Although the professional tennis is notoriously grueling and unforgiving, if Chong’s track record at Wesleyan is any indication, it’s clear that she has the capabilities and the motivation to find success on the tour.
Cormac Chester can be reached at email@example.com.