Upholding a family legacy can be a daunting task, but for freshman tennis player Jasmine Rich, this is what motivates her to succeed. As the fourth athlete in three generations to attend and play a sport at the University of Utah, Rich is excited to carry on this family tradition.
Rich, who has lived most of her life in Utah, is following in the footsteps of her father, uncle and great-grandfather who were all student-athletes at the U. All of them, except her father, were tennis players.
“My family is super supportive,” Rich said. “And they just want me to do the best that I can.”
Rich’s great-grandfather, David Freed is called “Mr. Tennis” for his enormous efforts towards youth tennis in Utah as he started many programs. He was also a star tennis player for the school and he was a Davis Cup Captain in 1960.
In addition to her great-grandfather, Rich’s father, Chris Rich, is a big part of her life, influentially and as a role model. He played basketball at Utah during his freshman year before taking time to focus on his schooling. Chris is now a child psychiatrist at Primary Children’s Hospital, but he has always loved being a part of his daughter’s athletic life.
“She is my only daughter, and being able to spend time with her at tennis tournaments and traveling has been a great experience for us to become closer,” Chris said. “It was always fun to hang out, see movies, go to dinner and spend a lot of time together at the tournaments.”
From practicing together in her younger years to traveling and discussing sports together, Jasmine and her father have bonded immensely over their love for athletics. Her dad acknowledges that she needs to become more independent now that she is in college, and he is ready to let the coaches take the wheel so that he can enjoy the game from the stands.
Jasmine shared that a lot of encouragement comes from both of her parents. She is grateful for her mom, who supports her and drove as many as 30 minutes each way to take her to tennis lessons growing up. She gathered inspiration from her dad’s college career, and she has had a lifelong dream of following in his footsteps as a collegiate athlete.
“When Jasmine was young, she was always a Utah fan,” Chris said. “She used to run around the house and yell ‘Go Utes.'”
Now being able to represent the school she always hoped she would be able to, Jasmine is looking forward to experiencing what Utah athletics are like. She knows that she has a lot to learn, but she is eager to learn from the experienced players on the team, and she is prepared to step up her game in order to be a competitor in the Pac-12 Conference.
“I’m nervous about handling the pressure and the competition, but I am mostly really excited,” Jasmine said. “I have waited my whole life to get here.”