This article was originally published in ZU News.
Senior Toby Miclat wants to lead the charge for the women’s tennis team to be the first to go to the NCAA regional and national postseason tournaments.
It’s certainly a big goal, but not unreasonable, as the Cougars have already notched 10 wins and are on pace to win a couple more contests than last year. Miclat has been a big part of that momentum.
“She can almost account for two points every match. That’s something we’ve had with the men’s team, but we haven’t had a player quite as strong as Toby in our women’s tennis history,” assistant tennis coach Kirby Ronning said. “When she’s locked in and focused on her tennis stuff, she’s very intense. She has a super high level of intensity during practice and at matches. She’s very mentally tough.”
Ronning spoke about the kind of leader that Miclat is, helping the freshmen learn with her work ethic.
“Even though it’s Toby’s first year [at APU], she’s been a really good leader just with the work ethic she has. Day in and day out, she’s really professional about how she approaches things,” Ronning said. “A lot of the girls she’s playing with are freshmen, so it’s just ingraining those habits and making the girls understand how much work and how much of the daily grind it takes to be a great tennis player.”
One of the freshmen Miclat has helped improve throughout the season is Petra Ivankovic.
“I’ve learned a lot from Toby. She has a great attitude and is a great player. I think that she is a really good example for all of us, a good teammate,” Ivankovic said. “She’s amazing. She’s a really good friend. I just have the most respect for her.”
One of the reasons Ivankovic respects Miclat so much is because of how good she is on the court.
“She’s very aggressive on the court. When you play with her you have to be really conscious and you have to play really well to beat her, it’s almost impossible,” Ivankovic said.
This aggressiveness and intensity is part of what led Miclat to be offered a spot on an NCAA Division I team, Brigham Young University. Miclat played for BYU for three years before transferring to APU.
“I had a bad time at BYU and I didn’t want to transfer to another DI school. There’s something about DI’s which make a person extra catty. I wanted to use my last year of eligibility at somewhere close, comfortable, and not a DI. APU was the perfect fit since it was all that and also Christian,” Miclat said.
Miclat is from Claremont, Calif. originally and she commutes from her home to APU. Her choice to transfer to APU was relatively easy, considering that it was close to home and she was already familiar with APU head tennis coach Mark Bohren.
“It’s like 10 minutes away from home. I knew head coach Mark [Bohren] since I was really small, since we went to the same tennis club when I was younger,” Miclat said.
BYU, which is located in Utah and is a well-known Mormon school was something that Miclat was not very comfortable with. Miclat explained that she had expectations when she went to BYU, and it turned out to be something that wasn’t good for her.
“I enjoyed the people I knew, but I didn’t enjoy BYU itself. I didn’t enjoy praying to Joseph Smith or thanking Joseph Smith. You’re dragged into it, like how we pray at the beginning of most of our classes here,” Miclat said. “I didn’t really realize how junky it felt until after. When I was there, I thought, ‘I’m at a DI school and we have great perks, I have great connections.’ But then once I left I realized that I hated it so much. You don’t really realize it until you’re out of that situation. It’s like you’re in a box. You’re in the box and you think it’s comfortable and then you get out and realized that was the worst situation you’ve ever been in. That’s what BYU was.”
Miclat said that she witnessed her teammates being hypocritical at BYU, not taking accountability. She said that this has not been an issue at APU.
“Everyone is kind of lovely. I’m comparing this to a DI team where everyone is kind of a snoot. Everyone here is lovely and wants to improve. They have accountability. People genuinely care about you when you lose. People at BYU didn’t care like that,” Miclat said. “I’ve always been a really straightforward person. I can tell someone on the team, don’t do that, and they’ll stop, and they can do the same to me. I love everyone on the team.”
Other than the character of her teammates, Miclat said she appreciated her wins counting at APU.
“It’s nice to have your win be backed up. To an extent, you want to win individually, and of course I care about my record. I’m sitting here looking at Oliver Frank [of APU’s men’s tennis team] who’s undefeated. It’s natural to compare yourself,” Miclat said. “But it’s nice to have your win backed up. We would almost always lose at BYU and it would be counted on me and one other person to pick up the slack of someone who lost. When someone at BYU lost they would blame it on the referee. When someone here loses, they say I played bad and hit it down the middle too much. Then they work on improving that in practice. That’s really nice.”
Miclat has posted a 12-2 record on the season in singles, the best on the team, while playing the number one spot. She has also had a strong doubles season with a 10-6 record with two different partners.
“I want to win. I want our team to make history and to be the first APU [women’s tennis] team to go to NCAA’s [postseason tournament],” Miclat said. “I don’t have any big personal tennis goals right now. I’ve done basically everything I wanted to do in college tennis. My original goal was to go undefeated, but then I lost a game, so that’s over. Mostly I just want to make NCAA’s postseason as a team.”
After the season, Miclat will start working full-time at her parent’s elderly care facility. She already works there part-time.
“Once the season is over, I can work on my goal of helping my parents retire by the end of the year,” Miclat said. “I’m kind of finishing school for the sake of finishing it.”
Miclat will stay at APU for one more year, due to complications from transferring from BYU. She said that a lot of her classes didn’t transfer since BYU’s religious classes are Mormon. She also changed her major from neuroscience to business management.
Other than taking over her family’s elderly care facilities, Miclat wants to be a writer, but only on the side.
“I love writing. I’m trying to finish my book. School lets me work on my writing. I like writing about sci-fi, fantasy, and stuff like that,” Miclat said. “I’ve been working on it on and off for three years, but that’s nothing compared to my other book. It got stolen when my stuff was stolen. I had so much work put into that book, it was like 120 pages at that point. I want to publish my books after I graduate. If people like them, great, if not, it’s no big deal.”
As of right now, however, Miclat isn’t focused on writing or her parent’s business. She’s focused on winning and making history for the Cougar’s women’s tennis program.