The University of Iowa club team spares no energy on the court, yet they often try to preserve the ecosystem in their travels.
© Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA
By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
CARY, N.C. – Kyle Nicholson, a freshman on the University of Iowa club tennis team, is all about the fuel-efficient Toyota Prius – so much so that he and his Hawkeye teammates packed their suitcases and racquet bags up and insisted on driving 1,000 miles to the 2012 Tennis On Campus National Championship.
"My favorite thing about the smart cars is the power mode," said Nicholson, with a laugh. "You go from zero to 30 (miles per hour) in three seconds flat."
While a few team members flew from the team’s home in Iowa City, Nicholson and teammate Nathaniel Gier, a sophomore, were part of the contingent that crammed into two 2010 models of the full hybrid electric mid-size sedans, cranked up some music and became closer as a unit.
To arrive on time for their Thursday morning matches, the crew pulled out of campus early Tuesday evening, reaching the Eastern Time Zone and a night’s rest in Indianapolis around 2 a.m. on Wednesday. The next morning, the group hit the road at 8 a.m. and reached the Cary Tennis Park just in time for the 7 p.m. captains briefing before the first day of play.
"We filled up just twice in our 17 hours of driving," said Gier. "Thanks go to the University for meeting our special request for the Priuses. When it comes to budget, its cheaper than flying – actually a lot cheaper."
Just another reason why conservation is key.
After going winless in round-robin play on Thursday, the Hawkeyes rebounded on Day 2 with a victory over James Madison University and look to win their final match against the North Dakota State Bison during Saturday’s finale in the Copper bracket.
With next year’s Tennis On Campus Nationals in Surprise, Ariz., the majority of the Hawkeyes would likely fly in should they qualify out of the USTA Midwest section.
"I wouldn’t put anything past our club," said Nicholson.