Exeter native and Central Valley Christian Grad Bailey Gong graduated from Fresno State this spring.
Being a tennis player and a mechanical engineer major required a lot of self-discipline.
Bailey's father is a Fresno State Alumn and he grew up attending tennis matches as a kid. However, his dream school was Cornell. After two years at Fresno State, he had the opportunity to transfer to the Ivy League school, but instead he chose to stay in the Valley.
"I was really fortunate because not only did I have my tennis students but I was also in The Smittcamp Family Honors College, an honor college where they take in 50 students a year," said Bailey.
The Bulldog was named an Academic All-American his senior year and still reminisces about the moments he shared with his teammates on the court.
"The best memory is winning Mountain West my junior year. Believe it or not, waking up and having 6:30 am workouts was actually pretty memorable. Even if at the time I didn't like it, looking back on it was pretty special. To be able to wake up at the crack of dawn and have a bunch of guys to motivate you," he added.
He got into Cornell's graduate food science program which is the top program in the country. He hopes to design food processing equipment to better help society.
"I'm really looking forward to finally learning about food, I feel like I've been waiting the past four years to do so," Bailey said.
So where did his passion for food come from? Bailey and his father used to watch the Food Network together all the time.
Bailey is now starting his next chapter at the school he's always wanted to attend, but when asked what it's like to finally wear Cornell across his chest, he had this to say:
"I guess when I was younger I thought it would be really cool, but I don't know maybe it's the natural rebel in any human nature but now I just want to wear Fresno State. Go Dogs. Let people know that I didn't start from some high up place, that I earned it."
Good Sports: Former Fresno State tennis player Bailey Gong reps Valley pride at Cornell