Amelia Rajecki’s legacy at State

NC State’s Amelia Rajecki finished her college career with a trip to the trip to the NCAA semifinals (Photo courtesy NC State athletics)

The NC State Wolfpack women’s tennis team has had quite a run over the last few years with quite a few stars having come through the ranks and that legacy has only continued to grow with yet another star leading the way for the Pack.

Amelia Rajecki, the number two ranked NCAA women’s player, finished up her collegiate career at NC State with a singles semifinals appearance at the 2024 Division I NCAA women’s tennis championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

After a strong run, Rajecki came up short on Friday against Georgia’s Anastasiia Lopata, losing in straight sets 6-4 and 7-5.

Despite the loss, Rajecki leaves a lasting impression at NC State.

The British import ends her time with the Pack third all time in program history in career singles wins – behind Adriana Reami (127) and Anna Rogers (117) – and she is also one of only three players to win over 100 career matches in both singles and doubles – Rogers and Alana Smith being the other two.

And it wasn’t like she was a freshman phenom either. Rajecki’s story is more so one of exponential growth.

“[In 2021] she was definitely very competitive at six, but was still struggling really with belief and putting it all together,” said NC State head coach Simon Earnshaw on the Cracked Interviews tennis podcast. “But it kind of came together during the ACCs and the rest of that year. 2022 was a season that provided opportunity with Alana [Smith] unfortunately being out for the season and Millie, after she got that experience, she really hit the floor running.

“It’s not a joke in any of these programs. You step up to play the number one spot and there’s a lot of eyeballs on you and a lot of pressure. I think just taking on that responsibility alone is a big deal no matter where you play and I think if you’ve put in the work and you feel like you’re ready and you do have some success in that role, then you’re probably going to grow and I think we’ve seen that.”

Over her career, Rajecki set the program record for wins in a season with 40 during the 2022-23 season, was part of NC State’s first ever ACC title team in 2022-23 and secured All-American honors twice.

Rajecki’s No. 2 ITA singles ranking is the highest ever achieved by a Wolfpack player and she’s the only player to ever have reached the semifinals of the singles, a feat which she’s now accomplished twice.

“I think she’s the one player in college where she can take the ball out of your hands,” Earnshaw said. “So she’s not relying on the other person to kind of work with her. She plays on her own terms which sometimes can have its pros and cons, but definitely you can see more growth this year. She certainly has some tools where it doesn’t really matter who’s on the other side. It’s more about her execution.”

Overall, it was yet another strong year for the state on the tennis court.

On the women’s side, both No. 4 UNC and No. 15 NC State made it to the third round of the teams championship, while Duke made it to the second round. Wake Forest also qualified.

Individually, UNC had five players qualify for the singles championship with Anika Yarlagadda making it the furthest all the way to the round of 16, NC State had two players qualify and Wake and Duke each had one.

In doubles, NC State and UNC were the only schools to qualify a duo, with both teams also sending two. The Tar Heels’ Fiona Crawley and Carson Tanguilig made it to the doubles quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, No. 6 Wake led the way in the teams championship, making it all the way to the semifinals while No. 13 Duke made it to the third round and No. 14 NC State made it to the second. UNC and UNCW also qualified.

In singles, two Duke players qualified while NC State and Wake each had one, but Wake’s Filippo Moroni made it the furthest, getting to the round of 32.

In doubles, Wake and Duke each had a pair qualify and it was Duke’s Garret Johns and Pedro Rodenas who made it the furthest, finishing in the quarterfinals.