Julyette Steur hasn't been at Colorado long, but the freshman is already seeing tremendous strides in her tennis game.

A freshman from Apeldoorn, Netherlands, Steur arrived at CU in January and immediately asserted herself as one of the Buffs' top singles players.

"She was just kind of really thrown into the fire," CU coach Nicole Kenneally said. "So I think she's done a tremendous job, considering her age, considering also she's playing one of the top three positions in the lineup."

Earning one of the three singles spots is tough enough for a freshman. Steur, however, is only 16 years old. Graduating two years early from high school, she won't turn 17 until July 28.

"It's cool being 16 and at a university," said Steur, who had never been to the United States before arriving at CU. "I always liked being around older people and I always felt like I wanted to do something with my sport, and it's easier if you are done with school early."

With tremendous pedigree, Steur has her sights set on a professional career. Her mother, Sylvia Steur, and aunt, Kirstin Freye, both earned a top-200 ranking with the Women's Tennis Association.

"I want to go pro, as well, and just give it a shot," she said.

A pro career is probably a ways down the road, but she hopes being at Colorado will help her get there.

"She's got a big game and she has a lot of ambition and she has a lot of goals she wants to achieve," Kenneally said.


"It just really boils down to how much hard work do you want to do? (Going pro) a possibility in her future. But, there's a lot of work to do be done between now and then. I think she's got a great foundation."

Steur is already building upon that foundation. Although the young Buffs have struggled as a team, going 0-10 during the Pac-12 schedule, Steur has done her best to get better. Playing almost exclusively at No. 3 singles, she is 9-11 this spring.

She said her game has improved by taking part in doubles matches, as well, which she didn't do much back home. Simply being on the court has helped, too.

"Just playing every weekend, that helps a lot," she said. "Now is the time where I can move forward and get better a lot."

Adjusting to team tennis, college life and living in a brand-new country hasn't made this an easy ride for Steur, but it's been fun.

"In the beginning it was kind of hard missing family back home," she said. "You're thrown into it and it's a lot, but I got used to it and I enjoy it."

For the Buffs, having Steur on board has been enjoyable, and Kenneally sees the potential for great growth.

"She's still 16, so she still has her moments," Kenneally said. "Overall, she's getting a lot of the concepts and has a very professional mindset, which is nice.

"She's represented herself and her family well this semester."


The CU tennis team will play in the Pac-12 championships, beginning on Thursday, in Ojai, Calif. ... The Buffs' men's and women's golf teams will take part in Pac-12 championships this week, as well. The men will compete Thursday-Sunday in Corvallis, Ore. The women will compete Friday-Sunday in Pullman, Wash. ... Brittany Lewis of the women's track team has a long jump of 19 feet, 7 inches on Saturday at the Beach Invitational in Cerritos, Calif. That was the longest jump by a CU woman since 2004.