Tennis On Campus
USTA National Campus Championship - A Firsthand Experience
by Jason Franks, 24 April 2009
Jason Franks and his Western Washington Tennis On Campus team traveled to Surprise, Arizona this past weekend for the USTA National Campus Championships. Franks jotted down a diary during his stay, and he shares those thoughts with us today.
It's uncharacteristically windy in Surprise, Ariz. as the first of 64 teams start to roll into the complex for their practice courts the eve before the tournament. All the teams look excited and nervous - rookies and veterans alike - for the biggest event in the TOC season. I accompany my alma mater, Western Washington University, to the hotel, and as usual, the room reservation is incorrect. But the only thing on people's minds right now is to grab some dinner and hop in the hot tub. A third of the team sleeps on the floor, and everyone falls asleep thinking about tomorrow's matches.
Even though it's 6 am, no one has trouble waking up for the morning matches. My team is a bit miffed that they are stuck on the off-site location for pool play, but every player tries to remain focused for the first match against UCLA, a perennial contender for champion of the tournament. The roster is set and we conduct warm-ups.
Unfortunately UCLA's reputation holds true and Western suffers its first loss. With another match in two hours, a true key to success at this tournament is being able to rally the troops for a competitive second match.
Our next opponent is Penn State, the Middle States sectional champion and another frequent Gold Bracket team. The match starts out competitive, but we quickly lose ground in men's and women's singles, and the deficit proves insurmountable in mixed doubles. The team is officially in low spirits, but there are still matches to be played.
Western composes itself and earns an overwhelming victory over the University of Tennessee to earn a birth into the Bronze bracket. Dinner, hot tub, shower, and off to bed for the next day.