SEATTLE - Kristina (Kraszewski) Babcock doesn't play much tennis anymore. She's too busy starting her new marriage and new career after recently receiving a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston.
But when Washington's former three-time All-American and three-time All-Pac-10 player got a telephone call this summer at her Houston home informing her she'd been elected to the Husky Hall of Fame, her great memories of Huskies tennis came flooding back.
"My fondest memory was senior year, when we got to the Elite Eight in the NCAAs," the 31-year-old Babcock said Thursday by telephone from Houston. "All that work from freshman year through my senior year - to see everyone's hard work finally paying off was a thrill."
She had more than one.
The first Husky All-American in women's tennis, Kraszewski set a new standard of excellence at Washington. Huskies are still striving to match her career.
The winningest player in Washington history (111-45 in singles) is still the only Husky to be ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles. She spent five weeks atop the country's rankings in 2000. She qualified for the NCAAs in all four of her years at Washington in singles and doubles.
After leading UW to those memorable national quarterfinals in Athens, Ga., in 2001, she was ranked as high as 229 on the professional tour by the Women's Tennis Association. She played in qualifying rounds at the U.S. Open in 2000 and 2001. She left the pro ranks a year later and taught lessons in Seattle before taking a position at Elite TNT Tennis Academy in Montgomery, Texas in 2005. Kraszewski then returned to the college ranks in 2006 as an assistant coach at Rice University, where she stayed for three seasons.
Kraszewski became Kristina Babcock after marrying Nick Babcock in August 2008. Now she's finished business school and embarking on her new career.
The native Californian says she misses Seattle. She misses hiking in the rugged Northwest. And she complained it was 94 degrees in Houston on Thursday.
Told it was 60 and pouring rain back at UW, Babcock laughed and said, "I'm jealous." That's how long she's been away.
When she attends the Big W Club's 2010 Husky Hall of Fame induction ceremony on October 29 inside Hec Edmundson Pavilion, it will be her first time on campus in two years, since she was coaching at Rice.
"I can't wait," she said. "I'm really excited to come back."