By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
For the first time in school history, the University of Georgia reigned as the Tennis On Campus top dog, highlighting a 2013 Tennis On Campus season that was as spectacular as it was memorable.
The crew from Athens, Ga., held off archrival University of Florida, 26-24, in the final of the 2013 Tennis On Campus National Championship back in April, held at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz. The Bulldogs clinched the victory in a mixed doubles fifth set, narrowly avoiding an ultimate super tie-break to crown the tournament winner.
"Georgia-Florida might be one of the biggest rivalries in all of college sports," said senior Matthew Holland after his team’s victory. "It’s sweet to win but that much sweeter to beat them in the finals. They were an awesome team."
Once again in 2013, the top 64 club tennis teams in the nation united for three days of heated competition – and fun. TOC’s biggest event of the season, Nationals will return to Surprise in 2014 for the tournament’s 15-year anniversary, April 10-12.
"The Tennis On Campus National Championship is the most exciting and successful recreational college tennis event in the country," said Glenn Arrington, National Manager, USTA Tennis On Campus. "The Championship offers students a well-rounded experience of competition and fun in a social coed atmosphere, setting it apart from varsity programs.”
Florida would rebound later in the 2013 season, claiming October’s Tennis On Campus Fall Invitational in Hilton Head Island, S.C. with a 23-18 victory over the University of Virginia. By virtue of winning, the Gators guaranteed themselves a berth in Surprise and a second chance at their first TOC National title since 2003.
In 2013, the honors extended beyond the champions.
In March, University of Illinois senior Michael Lynch took home the top individual award as the USTA Tennis On Campus National Leader of the Year for his efforts during the 2012-13 academic year. An active member of the university’s club tennis program since his freshman year, Lynch has fostered the growth of the club from 30 participants to nearly 70 members and led the way in club community service efforts.
"It means a lot that the work I put in impacted people enough that they chose to nominate me for this honor,” said Lynch. “I was speechless when I found out that I had been selected."
Also receiving TOC national honors was North Dakota State University, which was named the 2012-13 USTA Tennis On Campus Club of the Year. The award is presented annually to the team that has achieved a level of sustained excellence while also demonstrating a commitment to giving back. Among the community service initiatives the NDSU club completes each year is to have team members volunteer as court monitors at high school tournaments around the city of Fargo, N.D.
"When I joined Tennis On Campus as a freshman, the club was just getting underway,” said NDSU senior Kelly Rensink. “I’ve seen how much work the officers and players have put in on- and off-the-court, and it has paid off. To have the USTA recognize those efforts is truly awesome."
With USTA Tennis On Campus, there’s no better way for college students make friends, stay fit and have fun! Whether you’ve played before or are just picking up ta racquet, the program paves the way for you to find yourself in the game.
All across the country, college students are enjoying the excitement of tennis through co-ed team play that keeps their competitive fires burning and opens up doors to new friendships and endless fun.