Abby Leatherwood Young was a member of Belmont's women's tennis team from 2007-2011. She had a highly successful playing career, ranking in the top-10 in Belmont's Division I era in career singles wins and career conference singles wins. She also helped the Bruins reach the Atlantic Sun Tournament three times.
Abby recently spoke to BelmontBruins.com about her time at Belmont and her current role as a high school teacher in Columbus, Ohio.
Why did you choose Belmont?
I chose Belmont for several reasons. I loved that it was a smaller school in a big city. The campus was beautiful while also being close to all the action Nashville had to offer. I also chose Belmont because playing tennis in college was something that was important to me and it was the best fit. Nashville was six hours from Columbus (where my parents lived) so it was close enough that they were able to be at most of our matches. In my four years at Belmont, my parents only missed one match! They were quite the cheering section.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
It's hard to chose one, so I picked three!
- During my sophomore year, Campbell University beat us during regular season and we drew them first round at Conference. Even though they beat us again in the tournament, all of the matches were VERY close and the cheering was unreal!
- Lipscomb was always our rival and playing them each year we would get extra pumped to beat them!
- Lastly, traveling to all the matches was fun as well. All the stories my teammates would tell in the van, or flying to Florida, and eating dinner on trips...great times.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
My teammates had the biggest influence on me during my four years at Belmont. I would spend 4-5 hours a day with them at workouts, lifting, and practice and then eat dinner in the Cafe and maybe study with them. Since I spent so much time with some of these girls, they would help me grow and challenge me at practice to be my best. We were all competitive with one another while also helping each to grow and succeed on and off the court.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
The most valuable thing I gained from Belmont is experiencing new and different people. I grew up in a small rural community in Ohio with people and families similar to each other. It was amazing to come to Belmont and meet people from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. I grew so much as an individual because of these people in my life, some of which are still my best friends today.
What advice would you give to current members of the tennis team?
My advice for current members is to live in the moment. With so much going on in college: matches, practice, workouts, classes, assignments, studying, etc. it was hard for me to truly be in the moment during matches and trips. I was always thinking about all the things I had to get done when I got back to campus that sometimes I would let the moment pass and not always enjoy the moment I was in.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
The entire History Department was amazing but my favorite professor at Belmont was Dr. Brenda Jackson-Abernathy. I had her for several history courses, but my favorite class with her was Latin American studies. She had a passion for history and teaching that I try to resemble in my classroom today. She also helped me snagged an awesome internship at The Hermitage. She is so kind and fun.
Where do your live now?
I live in Columbus, Ohio.
What is your occupation and what dos the position entail?
I just finished my 6th year teaching High School History at Teays Valley High School, the same school I attended from Kindergarten to 12th grade. The past couple years I've been teaching U.S. History to 10th graders and while there are challenges, like with any profession, I can't see myself doing anything else.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to Spencer and we both teach history at the same high school! We enjoy traveling, sporting events, and being outdoors.