Senior tennis player John Stormans is admittedly impulsive in all the right ways.
Stormans wasn’t planning on coming to Seattle U. In fact, for the first year of his collegiate career, he didn’t.
“I wanted to leave, I wanted to try and play Division I tennis and I wanted to go to California or somewhere sunny,” Stormans said. “Saint Mary’s seemed like it was going to be good.”
So, Stormans left his hometown of Olympia, Wash., and went to play tennis at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., which he said he was excited about at the time.
But things quickly changed.
He can’t put his finger on any negatives at Saint Mary’s, but he wasn’t happy playing tennis there. It was a sport he had been playing for a decade, and although he wasn’t ready to give it up, he was going to stop playing if he stayed.
He went with his impulsive nature, and decided to leave.
Stormans described the time after as “floating around with nowhere to go.” Then, a break.
Will Topp, a tennis player at Seattle U who graduated in 2016, was a familiar name back home. The two had gone to the same high school in Olympia.
Stormans got connected with the Seattle U tennis coach at the time, was offered a scholarship, and the next day, he committed to being a Redhawk.
In just three days, Stormans decided on Seattle U.
“I told him I’d go to Seattle U and I had never even been here,” Stormans said, starting to laugh at his own story. “I hadn’t even seen the campus and I didn’t know anything about Seattle. I was just like, ‘yea, I’ll do it.’ It was kind of crazy.”
Stormans was ready for a change, and he found that at Seattle U.
“I wanted to keep playing, but I wanted it to be the best part of my day. So, if I was going to leave (Saint Mary’s), I needed to find a place where it’s the best part of my day,” Stormans said. “In terms of the direction that my life has gone, that’s the best decision I’ve made.”
It was a different path to get here, but Stormans is happy it all worked out.
“I think that is probably one of the biggest things when I look back on the whole thing, the student-athlete experience has been amazing,” Stormans said. “Seattle U is such a great place to go to school and it’s a good size where teachers are really accommodating.”
Stormans has also enjoyed the focus on becoming a well-rounded person.
“I think what’s definitely special about being here is you get to do everything,” Stormans said. “I’ve never felt like I’m just a tennis player or I’m just a student.”
That is important for him. For Stormans, he’s more than a tennis player. In fact, he doesn’t like to be defined as that all the time.
He wants people to know that he’s goofy and likes to have fun, that he loves to be part of groups and he enjoys people more than anything.
Outside of all those things, though, tennis has still played a huge part in his life.
“It’s helped me so much to keep working on finding out who I am and who I want to be,” Stormans said. “When I look back three or four years when I was so often searching for who I wanted to be, when I got here, I started figuring it out.”
Being a captain on the men’s tennis team has helped Stormans continue to evolve into the person he strives to become.
He’s gotten to work on his leadership skills and loves being part of a team, as well as a leader who can get the most out of others. In fact, he admits he’s always thought he’d be a better coach than a player.
“This year has easily been the best year of tennis I’ve ever had, and I don’t even think about matches I’ve won or lost,” Stormans said. “I just think about the travelling we’ve done and all the chances we’ve had to come together as a group and the chances I’ve had to motivate people and the way that people have motivated me. It’s bled over into my life outside of tennis.”
Stormans truly believes that caring about his teammates and having them care about each other will translate to positive sports performance.
He hopes that once he’s graduated, people remember him for that.
“I want to be remembered as someone that cared about the team and the guys on the team personally,” Stormans said. “The most important thing to me was for all of us to be growing as individuals and growing closer together.”
Stormans may not have started out as a Redhawk, but he’s finishing his collegiate career as one completely invested in the program he chose on impulse.