Out Of Africa Mai El Kamash Making Her Mark For Rebels
Mai El Kamash
April 2, 2013
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.
In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a... read more
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players. Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called... read more
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night. "It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our... read more
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance. "You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive... read more
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville. Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th... read more
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one... read more
Photo Gallery Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build... read more
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19. "It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace... read more
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole... read more
Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2)... read more
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, visited campus Wednesday. He spent time with head coach Hugh Freeze, spoke to the team and signed the equipment room Wall of Fame. "He's one of... read more
Ole Miss is bowl eligible for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze after a 34-24 win over Arkansas this past Saturday. The Rebels are also 6-3 for the first time since 2009, when the started 8-3 before... read more
After Ole Miss took a 20-10 lead into halftime, the momentum swung in favor of Arkansas after an interception, a touchdown-scoring drive and a defensive three-and-out to start the third quarter. Now leading 20-17, senior quarterback Barry Brunetti converted a... read more