The UW Women's tennis team returned home from Hawaii Sunday and shared their stories of the agony they endured when an alert threw their trip and the entire island into a panic.
Eight players and two coaches from the University of Washington's women's tennis team were in Hawaii Tuesday through Saturday, for a season opener against Hawaii the first match of the season.
Some of the players say they felt like they had to call their loved ones to say goodbye and had to come face to face with the possibility of life ending.
Some were hiking on Diamond Head when the emergency alert, warning of an incoming ballistic missile, came across their phones.
“ I started freaking out, I was like 'OK, let’s get down, it says this is not a drill,'” said Kenedi Hance, a junior at UW.
Other teammates were still at the hotel.
“When I read it was like, 'the ballistic missile is on route, this is not a drill.' Like my heart literally dropped,” said Alexis Prokopeyk, a senior at UW.
She says at the hotel, people gathered in the lobby, some started heading to a basement parking area for shelter, and people were crying.
Prokopeyk says she had her whole family on the phone.
“ I was like, ‘Ok I think this is real, I love you.’ And I said, ‘Mom, I don't know what's going to happen but just know I love you and I hope we come out of this.’ But you never know with those things,” Prokopeyk said.
“You're literally like this could be it, you know? So yeah. Very scary. Very, very scary,” she said.
Some team members say they only fully felt reassured after another emergency alert came out saying the first warning message was a false alarm nearly 40 minutes later.
“I was like, 'OK, I just need to walk this off, just look at the sky look at the beach and appreciate this.' It really makes you think about the bigger picture and appreciate your life a lot more,” Prokopeyk said.
The team won against Hawaii 5-2, and play again Friday at home, against Texas tech.
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