Roommates share name, bond during first year

By: jackiereedy

Feb 03 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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(PHOTO, Jackie Reedy, jackiereedy@gmail.com)

Freshmen Will Oliver (top) and Will Reynolds (above) have been rooming together since the start of the school year, while training side-by-side in practice. The Bulldogs’ first dual match is set for this Saturday. (PHOTO, Jackie Reedy, jackiereeedy@gmail.com)

Roommates share name, bond during first year

January 20, 2010 by LISA GLASER Filed under Sports, Tennis

One is brown-haired, the other a blond.

One is from San Antonio, Texas, the other from Chattanooga, Tenn.

One is a self-described neat-freak, the other is prone to spraying shaving cream all over his friends’ rooms as a joke.

But both are named Will and both fill their days with tennis.

The two freshmen on the Georgia men’s tennis players — Will Oliver and Will Reynolds — live together and practice together daily.

However, at the beginning of the their first year of college, neither knew each other. Both competed separately for years. Oliver started when he was around five years old, while Reynolds began at nine. The two had tennis-oriented families who helped each of them become a college athletes.

“My whole family played tennis. Both of my older sisters played tennis, so I would just kind of tag along with them. My dad pretty much taught everybody how to play, so that’s how I picked it up,” Oliver said.

Both became seriously involved, including traveling to tournaments at about age 12. Oliver and Reynolds each took time in high school to concentrate intensely on tennis;

Oliver was home-schooled his sophomore and junior years, while Reynolds took classes at Middle College at Chattanooga State during his sophomore year.

These two paths let the players use their time more advantageously for practicing and traveling to compete in tournaments. However, each returned to their original high school to graduate and to have more typical high school experiences.

When deciding what college to attend after high school, the two had similar reasons. Reynolds’ decision was influenced by his older brother, Brandon, who graduated fromthe University in 2002.

“It started with my brother. I’ve always looked up to my brother. He didn’t play tennis though; we’re different in that respect. When he came to Georgia, I became a huge fan. I had all the Georgia apparel and wanted to come here, regardless [of making the team],” Reynolds said.

Oliver, initially skeptical of leaving Texas, became convinced by his hometown friend and tennis captain, senior Jamie Hunt. Oliver’s and Hunt’s families live in the same city and have been friends for years.

“Our families were friends even before we were born, I think. His oldest sister and my oldest sister were the same age and played on the high school tennis team together, and were actually doubles partners. He’d always told me how awesome it was here and how I should come here,” Oliver said.

Together, Oliver and Reynolds have navigated Georgia’s campus since starting school last semester. Roommates at East Campus Village since August, the pair forged a friendship in the fall, partly due to how much their daily schedules overlapped.

“We didn’t know each other before college. Living together did help [starting school]. We had the same schedule, so it was ‘we’re going to class or we’re going to practice.’ We were going to the same stuff, which was cool,” Reynolds said.

This semester, they still practice, eat and live together. Together, they have struggled with time management and have learned how to strike a balance between their roles as students and as athletes.

“Tennis takes up so much of your time, and then you get home and you’re really tired and you realize you can’t just go to bed, you have to study,” Oliver said. “So that was a little bit tough to get used to, but now I’m getting into the pattern of when I can study, when I can do this, when I can sleep.”

The two are still learning separately and together how to survive the next three years. Their teammates have played a key role in helping the pair feel comfortable in Athens, a new town for both.

“The team is really close, so on weekends we all hang out. We go over to our manager’s house and watch a football game. We’re a really close team so we have a lot of fun together,” Oliver said.

To prevent confusion from their teammates, the two Wills have taken on several names to distinguish themselves from one another. Oliver’s unique nickname came from a rap battle he had with a recruit last semester.

“We call him ‘Black Bear.’ He was having a freestyle rap one time with someone, and his ending rhyme was ‘some people call me Black Bear,’ which nobody called him black bear, so we started calling him black bear. That kind of sums him up,” said senior Nate Schnugg.

Reynolds has been called “Wilbo”, “Willy Reed” and most recently, “Wild Bill”.

“I’m the most tame person on this team, and I have no problem saying that and they came up with ‘Wild Bill.’ That hasn’t really stuck though. ‘Black Bear’ is way cooler,” Reynolds said.

For now, the duo look forward to the rest of the season and what it may offer. This Saturday, Oliver, Reynolds and the rest of their team, face off against USC-Upstate in the season’s first home match.

“We don’t know the lineup yet, so for us, we may not be playing. And honestly, for me, that’s fine. I love seeing these guys play and cheering them on is a lot of fun,” Reynolds said. “And certainly, for me, it’s whatever it takes to help the team and make each other get better and better, on the court and off the court.

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