Meet Kamoe, Georgia State’s lone senior tennis player

4v5a7769After losing two seniors, the Georgia State women’s tennis team only has one lone senior on the squad, Tarani Kamoe. Kamoe understands her role as the oldest and knows what comes with being in that senior leadership role.

“It feels like I have more responsibility to lead a team and step up,” Kamoe said. “There’s a bit of pressure for me to lead, but also a good feeling knowing I can be a leader. I just feel like I need to step up and lead a team.”

Kamoe looks to take that leadership role head on after helping last year’s seniors leave on a high note with a Sun Belt Conference Championship.

“Felt awesome and it was a great feeling and a great atmosphere to be in,” Kamoe said about winning the Sun Belt last year. “The two seniors wanted it really bad and that [energy] went down to us. We all worked as a team to do it for everyone and each other.”

One of the seniors the Panthers lost was Linn Timmermann, who was Kamoe’s teammate at the doubles No. 1 slot. It will be a difficult task for the senior to be playing her final season with a different teammate in doubles. Still, Kamoe has no problem with the challenge.

“It’s nothing new, I don’t mind being partners with anyone,” Kamoe said. “I’m okay with anything, but at the time I don’t know who my partner is. I just want to go out there and have some fun, play competitive tennis and do my best.”

The Panthers brought in three freshmen to the team to replace the two seniors they lost. Kamoe will more than likely play with one of the juniors or sophomores on the team, but there’s always a possibility that she will play with one of the new freshmen teammates. It doesn’t bother Kamoe because she likes and gets along well with all of her teammates, including the new ones.

“They’re great I like them and they’re really fun,” Kamoe said about her new teammates. “They’re all coming from different countries, so it’s interesting to hear what their backgrounds are like. It’s only been like two months, so there is still a lot to know about them.”

In fact, one of the freshmen actually reminds Kamoe of herself when she was a freshman here at Georgia State.

“Damira Muminovic kind of reminded me of myself when I first came in,” Kamoe said. “She’s quite overwhelmed like I was with everything being in a big city, a new type of school system and coming into the program late. She came in a week late kind of like me.”

Winning back to back Sun Belt titles will not be easy for the Panthers with three freshman and Kamoe being the only senior. Still, Kamoe knows her leadership will be key in helping the Panthers repeat, and knows exactly what the team needs to do in order to go back to back.  

“With three new freshman it all comes down to chemistry and that mindset to want it all again,” Kamoe said. “We have to keep getting better each day at practice, on and off the court.”

Kamoe overcomes her overwhelming transition to Georgia State

Growing up in Fiji is the complete opposite of living here in Atlanta in the city according to Kamoe. It was overwhelming for her, the transition from Fiji to Georgia State.

“Growing up in Fiji is very very very different than living here in Atlanta,” Kamoe said. “The city is very dense with a lot of really really tall buildings. Compared to back home, it’s just basic open space with more green. I really wasn’t expecting a really dense city. It was just overwhelming.”

Although it was overwhelming at first for Kamoe, she found a way to overcome it and play well her freshman year at Georgia State. She went 5-6 in singles and went 9-3 in doubles at the No. 2 slot and even advanced to ITA Regional semifinals. Kamoe quickly found her game and role on the team, which was playing at the doubles position over singles.

“I’ve always enjoyed doubles because it’s more fun, it’s quicker tennis and more variety of quick movements,” Kamoe said. “There’s always someone beside you, rather than playing singles where you are alone. Playing with a partner motivates me. You get a pump up if your partner’s pumped and that energy goes back and forth.”

Kamoe found her place at the doubles position and the dedication to her doubles plays paid off her sophomore year. In the fall of 2014, she posted the team’s best record in doubles going 11-2. Then in the spring, she went 9-7 in doubles playing at the No. 1 slot for the first time.

Last season was Kamoe’s best season of her Georgia State career. She went 14-4 at the No. 1 Slot in doubles and even went on a five-game winning streak at one point.  In addition, Kamoe and Timmerman beat the top pair of South Alabama in doubles to help lead the team to their second Sun Belt Conference title in three seasons.

Now comes Kamoe’s final season here at Georgia State. Coming here as a freshman, Kamoe feels like time has gone by really fast.

“It felt like it was just a year (ago), freshman to senior was so fast,” Kamoe said. “It feels like I have seniorities and I feel like doing nothing haha. However, it really feels like I have more responsibility to lead a team.”

With it being Kamoe’s last season, she is going to miss a lot of things once she graduates.

“I’m going to miss my teammates, my friends and the whole atmosphere of being in college and living that lifestyle,” Kamoe said.

After graduating, Kamoe will have a lot on her plate, but she’s just taking it day by day.

“I’m gonna be independent with more things to worry about because school is taking care of everything and once that’s over I’m on my own,” Kamoe said. “I only have a visa while I’m in school and so once that’s over with, I will have to apply for a new one which takes time, money and all sorts of things. Hopefully, I can find some sponsors and get a job. We’ll see how things go but at the moment just taking things day by day.”