By Carrie Rupp, USTA.com
With more than 330,000 unique USTA League players throughout the country, earning a spot at a national championship event is not an easy task. Thousands of dedicated USTA League participants have never felt the glory of winning a section championship or tasted the sweetness of competing in Las Vegas, Indian Wells or Tucson. The wait for 22-year-old Travis Weidman was not long. In just his second year of participation he had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships.
Although it is his first time at a USTA League National Championship, and his first time in Las Vegas, Weidman is no stranger to events of this scale; in fact, Weidman is a seasoned competitor on the national level as a participant of the USTA Tennis On Campus program. Weidman and his Pennsylvania State University (PSU) club tennis teammates finished fourth at the USTA National Campus Championship in 2007, eleventh in 2008 and ninth in 2009. Just a few weeks ago, the team captured its fourth consecutive Campus Championship – Middle States to once again secure a spot at the 2010 National Campus Championship, which will be held in Surprise, Ariz., in April.
Two section championships in two different programs is quite the accomplishment, but Weidman, a senior at PSU, is no stranger to success on the tennis court. The Reading, Pa., native played No. 1 singles for Wyomissing High School and the team finished second in the state of Pennsylvania his junior year. Although he showed interest in playing the sport in college, Weidman opted to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend PSU where he is an Accounting major.
Playing Varsity tennis wasn’t something Weidman wanted, but he certainly wanted to stay involved in the sport, making the decision to join PSU’s storied club tennis team an easy one.
“Tennis On Campus is a great program; every event I’ve been to has had a great atmosphere and has been lots of fun,” Weidman said. “There are so many kids at bigger schools who are talented tennis players looking to continue to play. There are several kids on our team that could play tennis at a smaller Division I school but didn’t want to. Tennis On Campus gives us the opportunity to continue playing the sport we love; it’s nice to have that kind of option.”
In 2008, when family friend Don Hutchison asked Weidman if he was interested in joining another team, a USTA League team, Weidman was quick to accept.
“Tennis On Campus and USTA Leagues are pretty similar,” Weidman said. “Everyone is extremely competitive, just like Tennis On Campus, and there’s no drop off in talent.”
Although Weidman was living in Washington, D.C. this summer, he managed to come home to play in several matches and participate in the USTA League Middle States Section Championship where the team punched their ticket to nationals.
“I was excited when we won,” Weidman said. “Because we’re in the middle of our fall semester I wasn’t sure if I could go, but I was able to go through my schedule and realized I’d be able to swing it.”
Although he has not had a lot of free time in Sin City he noted there’s no where else he’d rather be, saying the sunny, warm weather was a welcomed change to the rain and snow State College, Pa., has had the last few weeks.
Weidman’s team fell just shy of qualifying for the semifinals falling to USTA Northern in a battle for the top spot in their flight and a place in the semis. A national championship still isn’t out of reach as he has another opportunity to win at the National Campus Championship in April with his Nittany Lion teammates.
“Honestly, every year we expect to make a run at winning the national championship,” Weidman said. “Unfortunately it just hasn’t happened yet. We know we have the talent, so it’s been a little frustrating. Last year they played a tournament at Georgetown and beat Wisconsin who finished second in the country. We’re excited, we have some new team members and we have high expectations. We’ll just have to see how things unfold.”