Burgess adds four athletes to ECU tennis roster

ECU Pirates

Kirstin Burgess (ECU Sports Information photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. – After the team returned to the court this fall, the East Carolina women’s tennis program will add four more players as the program continues to grow, including two joining this spring, as announced by head coach Kirstin Burgess on Thursday.

“I am excited to welcome these new Pirates to the family,” said head coach Kirstin Burgess. “They will all play important roles in continuing to grow the future of this program. Welcome ladies!”

Kim Auerswald – Marne, Germany (Gymnasium Marne Europaschule)

Auerswald joins the Pirates from Marne, Germany where she was a 13-time national champion of Schleswig-Holstein between 2012 and 2018. She holds the record with winning both the singles and doubles titles in consecutive years. Most recently, Auerswald helped her squad finish in third place at the 2021 German national team championsips. She won three A7 and A6 tournaments in 2019 and has a pair of third place finishes in the German junior national championships. Auerswald was the Northeast German champion in doubles in 2017 and finished as the singles runner-up in 2014. She has also won multiple German junior tournaments throughout her prep career.

Coach Burgess on Kim: “I watched Kim at a virtual showcase and saw everything in her a good college tennis player needs to be. She was solid. Solid in her play, solid in her decision-making and solid in her temperament. I expect she will have the same positive impact on the program as the Bavarian players we have had in the past.”

Katelyn Gramanzini – Plantation, Fla. (American Heritage)

Gramanzini arrives after lettering for six years at American Heritage. Gramanzini helped the Patriots win a pair of Florida State titles, while also winning the State Championships in doubles play. The Plantation, Fla., native was a team captain and helped her squad win the Team Florida Challenge. She is also a two-time USTA Florida L3 Doubles Finalist as well as winning the Miami Herald Award and the Sun-Sentinal Award. Off the courts, Gramanzini has been a member of the National Honor Society for four years.

Coach Burgess on Katelyn: The thing that sticks out to me the most about Katelyn is her family and their relationship. I feel like you can learn a lot about a player by watching them interact with their parents. Katelyn certainly passed the test and has also proven herself academically since then. I can’t wait to see where we can take her game in the fall.”

Isabella Rivera Ortiz – Medellin, Colombia (Colegio Cumbres)

Ortiz will join the Pirates squad this coming spring season after representing Colombia in the Junior Panamerican Games. The Medellin, Colombia native has won more than 25 national titles in her career and has been ranked No. 1 nationally in her age group. Ortiz has reached the final and won numerous ITF tournaments, including winning the ITF J5 Medellin doubles championship in 2021. She won the same tournament in doubles in 2020, while reaching the semifinals in singles play. That same year, Ortiz was also the runner-up in doubles at the ITF Armenia J5. In 2019, Ortiz won the Tegucigalpa doubles championship and the ITF G5 Pereira doubles title.

Coach Burgess on Isabella: We really worked hard to get Isabella, but I know she will be worth the effort. She just represented her country at the Pan American Junior Games and because of that, she will come in this spring and be ready to compete. Her work ethic and professional aspirations will be a great asset in building the culture of this team.”

Sofía Cerezo Holgado– Alcala De Henares, Spain (IES Cardenal Cisneros)

Like Ortiz, Holgado arrives in Greenville this spring to start her collegiate career. She is from Alcala De Henares where she played for IES Cardenal Cisneros and Escuela de tenis Alcala. Holgado is ranked in the top-75 players in Spain and has found success in both regional and national tournaments. She finished as the runner-up of the Ciudad de la Raqueta in 2020. In 2019, Helgado finished runner-up of the Regional Team Championships, playing in her squad’s first position. She also reached the final of the National Tournament Open Bejar in both 2017 and 2019 while reaching the third round at the National Tournament Adultos IBP Uniso Peugeot.

Coach Burgess on Sofía: “I knew immediately after speaking to Sofía one time that she would be a great fit for this program. She has reached the Top-75 in Spain which is a great accomplishment already. She is an incredibly smart player and we look forward to what she can do this spring.”

The Pirates will start their dual match season on Jan. 18 with a trip to North Carolina. East Carolina will have its first home match since Feb. 29, 2020 when the Pirates host Appalachian State on Feb. 5.

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