Senior Marcel Thiemann (Lehrte, Germany) blogged throughout the 2012 season on all things Rebel tennis. Here is his final installment, wrapping up an All-American career.
The 2011-12 tennis season is over and the Rebels finished with some fireworks: 4 ALL-AMERICANS, tying NCAA runner-up Virginia for the most. As a team, we advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and ended the year ranked No. 14 in the nation. My brother (Chris Thiemann) and I reached the NCAA Final Four in doubles, while SEC Freshman of the Year Nik Scholtz made it four straight years for a Rebel to reach the Elite Eight in singles. This shows the enormous potential that the team has, and we can expect great things in the future.
When Chris and I first came to Ole Miss three and a half years ago, we did not really know what to expect from Oxford, since it was the first time ever for us to visit the United States. But once Coach (Billy) Chadwick and Coach (Toby) Hansson visited us in Germany, we became Rebels.
Ole Miss has a long-standing tradition of being a successful tennis program and to be a part of it was a great honor. I will never forget the great crowds we had every single match and the nice people I met along the road, who were always supportive win or lose. Everyone associated with the program and the entire athletics department, were very supportive of us. We now have one of the nicest tennis facilities in the nation.
For me and Chris personally, it was probably the best three and a half years of our lives and the best decision we could have ever made. We would have never thought that we could accomplish all the things we did during our college career. If you look closer, the development we had from our freshman year to our senior year shouldn't be surprising, because you have an unbelievable coaching staff with Coach Chadwick and Coach Hansson.
Some of the best moments we had included capturing the SEC Championship and SEC Tournament in 2009. Winning the ITA Southern Region Doubles in 2010 to qualify for the National Indoors at Flushing Meadows where we finished as the Runner-Up, winning the 2012 SEC Doubles Championship and advancing to the NCAA Final Four in doubles last month were also very special.
We are very blessed to have had all these amazing opportunities. At Ole Miss you do not only improve as an athlete but you also improve as a person. I learned so many things in life just by coming to a different country and attending college and being part of the tennis team. I have made friends who will stay my friends forever. I learned to have responsibility for myself and for my teammates. I also learned discipline. And even if you do not make it professionally after college you still can use all these life skills in your job later.
One last thing that I will never forget was Coach Chadwick telling us the following before we left to Germany for the summer: "You guys came as little `Schnitzel' (which is a famous German dish and our favorite dish), and left as All-Americans."
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