By Britni Riley Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Intern
Most college student-athletes have seen the campus and the town before deciding to join that particular program. They take official visits. It’s harder to do that when you live half way across the world. For women’s tennis freshman Mai El Kamash, born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, a visit from head coach Mark Beyers convinced her this was the place she wanted to continue her tennis career and get an education.
“Coach came to see me back in the fall and talked a lot about the school and the town. Even though I didn’t come for an official visit here, I had a feeling that it was a nice place, kind of small and quiet,” Kamash said.
Kamash has had no problem adjusting to American culture and school in Mississippi. She is no stranger to being far from home. Kamash played on the world junior circuit for years, and in that time, traveled to several countries.
An accomplished junior player, Kamash played in the French Open and Wimbledon Junior Championships and last year represented Egypt in the Federation Cup. She was also the runner-up in the African Women’s Cup of Nations, and won the Arabian Junior Championships in 2011.
The tennis prodigy had her choice of American universities to attend after reaching a career-high ITF Junior World ranking of No. 63 but chose Ole Miss.
The transition for Kamash from Cairo to Oxford has been easier than she thought it would be.
“At first I was terrified to be living away from my family and not being able to see my friends for a long time, but as soon as you come here and start classes and matches you just kind of forget about all of that,” she said.
The engineering major stays busy in the classroom and on the courts. Since her debut in January, the freshman has played in the top half of the lineup in every match. She is 5-4 in the SEC and helped the Rebels defeat then No. 38 Kentucky and No. 13 Vanderbilt on the road. She has won five of her last six in the SEC.
Kamash says one of the things she loves most about playing tennis in college is the support she gets from teammates and fans.
“It’s nice to be supported by all of your teammates,” Kamash said. “If you lose, you have someone besides you to lift you up, and you don’t get that in the juniors.”
The Rebels are currently ranked No. 37 nationally and improved to 10-9 overall with five wins last week, in which El Kamash went 4-0 in singles and doubles. It’s been an up and down year for the team, which features no seniors and two freshmen and three sophomores in the lineup.
“We had a rough start at first, but we are starting to do better,” Kamash said. “I think we are going to continue to get better. We have a lot of freshmen who don’t have a lot of experience, but we fight hard in all of our matches.”
The next stop for El Kamash and her teammates is Gainesville, Fla., Friday to face No. 2 Florida followed by a match at No. 31 South Carolina Sunday.
It's finally here...game week! It's been 242 days since the Ole Miss Rebels last took to the gridiron for a clash of the helmets. After a successful 2014 campaign in which Ole Miss knocked off a No. 1-ranked team... read more
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE ATLANTA - On Saturday, fans can tune in to see the Rebels duo of Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze and former Ole Miss basketball player Sean Tuohy compete in the Chick-fil-A... read more
Only 50 days until The Grove is full, the constant shouts of "Hotty Toddy" are in the air, and football kicks off 100 years in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium! Looking forward to this upcoming college football season, seven Rebels were named to... read more
As we near the 2015 college football season, national organizations have started to release watch lists for their respective awards. Through the first week of watch lists being released, multiple Rebels have been announced as players that fans need to... read more
Along with head coach Hugh Freeze, three Rebels will represent Ole Miss at the annual SEC Football Media Days next week. Junior Evan Engram, just named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for college football's most outstanding tight end,... read more
Five Ole Miss Rebels were chosen as preseason All-SEC selections by some of the people who work closest with the student-athletes, the football media relations directors. The 14 football media relations directors of the Southeastern Conference institutions voted in the... read more
The preseason accolades just don't stop for the Ole Miss football team. Everywhere you look, Rebels can be found on preseason All-America teams. Lindy's Sports recognized seven Rebels for preseason honors, including four All-Americans. Four Ole Miss Football Rebels were... read more
With the season just 74 days away, members of the 2015 Ole Miss football team continue to earn recognition on Preseason All-America lists. Athlon Sports, the latest media outlet to release its 2015 college football preseason All-America team, gave five... read more
Preseason All-America football teams continue to roll in, and Ole Miss has been well represented each time.Today, the Sporting News unveiled its preseason All-America first and second teams, which includes a total of four Rebels.OT Laremy Tunsil and DT Robert... read more
Individual preseason accolades continue to pile up for the Ole Miss football team as college football magazines look toward the 2015 season. Athlon Sports is the latest magazine to release its preseason all-conference teams, June 10; the magazine named nine... read more
The start of summer heat and vacations is also the start of another tradition - preseason college football magazines.One of the first to produce a magazine every year is Phil Steele, whose 2015 version includes about as many Ole Miss... read more
Although they will not begin competing for the Rebels until the fall, several members of the 2015 signing class have arrived at Ole Miss to begin their college journey this summer. The first of two summer sessions offered at the... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 28-May 4, 2015Baseball - The Rebels started the week defeating the Bulldogs, 11-1 in the annual Governor's Cup. The 10-run win for the Rebels marked the largest margin of victory in the 36-year history... read more
Welcome to Pittsburgh...and welcome to #SteelersNation, @Quez_G! #SteelersDraft pic.twitter.com/oY8wZc10Kk-- Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 2, 2015 Congrats Senquez Golson! Drafted 56th overall in the 2015 #NFLDRAFT by the Pittsburgh Steelers. #HottyToddy #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/EPGayDNOu7-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) May 2, 2015 Ole... read more