Natalie Beazant '15 Wins Prestigious Hardy Award

Natalie Beazant '15 with Hardy Award

The Joyce Pounds Hardy award represents excellence in multiple facets: academics, athletics, and community service. Most simply, it is rewarded annually to the most outstanding female athlete at Rice University.

Natalie Beazant with award

Over the course of her time here at Rice, senior tennis player Natalie Beazant ’15 has proven that she is just that. Outstanding.

It begins in Leigh, England, where Natalie hails from, though she moved with her family to South Florida to play at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, to better her chances at getting the exposure she deserved. And exposure was certainly what she got.

After narrowing down her choices to Wisconsin, North Carolina, Northwestern, and Rice, it would be Houston, Texas, where Beazant would begin her wildly successful career as a college athlete.

While her accent may be the first thing you notice, her dominance on the tennis court, followed by a humble appreciation for her successes, quickly become apparent. Beazant collected over 100 wins over the course of her four years and ranks third in Rice’s history for career wins. She has earned all-conference honors all four years, including being named the C-USA Player of the Year in both 2012 and 2015. Additionally, Beazant is the first All-American for women’s singles that Rice has seen since 1986. She earned this honor in 2013 when she advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament, making school history by becoming the first Rice women’s tennis player to do so.

And boy, is she fun to watch. An absolute powerhouse on the court, Beazant emits fire and passion with every movement she makes, every celebration she lets out. Her 5’3” stature seems to hold no limitations on her performance. Her team has even nicknamed her, “The Beast.”

But tennis isn’t all that Beazant excels in. She is also a powerhouse in the classroom. As a two-time member of the C-USA All-Academic team, a member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2013, and an ITA Scholar Athlete in 2014, Beazant has proven that she thrives in virtually every setting she’s in.

And her efforts don’t stop in the classroom. Beazant has a strong presence in the community as well, lending her efforts to numerous service projects in the Greater Houston area, a common trend among Rice athletes that ultimately tallies up to thousands of hours of community service each academic year. And if you don’t see her around Houston, you’ll see her all over campus, volunteering her time with various committees and causes, one being the committee that helped select our current athletic director, Joe Karlgaard.

A fierce competitor, dedicated student, and unwavering volunteer, Natalie has earned one of her final achievements at Rice with something she came in with as a freshman: her steady, humble demeanor.

So it’s no wonder she has won yet another distinction– she truly embodies all that the Joyce Pounds Hardy award represents. This highly honorable award is something that only one female student-athlete can achieve each year, and in 2015, it is most deservedly Natalie Beazant.

Kyley Reed, a junior from Rocky Hill, Connecticut, is majoring in Sport Management.