By Nicholas J. Walz, USTA.com
Sixty-four schools make the trek to Surprise, Ariz. Three action-packed days await them, and at the end, one will realize a goal built upon a year’s worth of team unity and hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles of travel.
It’s that time of season once again, where the best college club tennis squads unite to “get some love” at the 2014 Tennis On Campus National Championship, beginning Thursday, April 10, at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Center in Surprise, Ariz.
“We are excited to announce the field for the 2014 Tennis On Campus National Championship – the most exciting recreational college tennis event in the country,” said Glenn Arrington, National Manager, USTA Tennis On Campus. “The event provides a well-rounded experience for our student-athletes in a social atmosphere with both competition and fun. We believe the opportunity for students to compete at Nationals is a memorable milestone in their college experience.”
The USTA Tennis On Campus program features more than 35,000 college students competing nationwide in intramural and intercollegiate coed club play. Since its inception in 2000, Tennis On Campus has grown significantly and today is played on more than 600 college campuses across the country.
In the 2013 final, the University of Georgia Bulldogs captured their school's first Tennis On Campus national title, defeating archrival Florida, 26-24. The Bulldogs were the second Southeastern Conference team to bring home the nation's top prize, joining the Gators, who won a decade earlier in 2003.
“Winning the 2013 National Championship last year was pretty unreal and an awesome experience,” said Gordon Lucas, current Georgia captain and part of last year’s winning team. “After a fifth place finish at [USTA Southern] Sectionals, our team goal was to win our pool and have fun.
“It took playing some of our best tennis all year to take home the title – I think that we even shocked ourselves by winning the championship as an underdog, but we are anticipating more of a target on our backs this time.”
This year, four schools will make their debut at Nationals: Cal State Chico, Gonzaga, Saginaw Valley State and Yale. All participating teams have advanced through USTA section championship play and/or received automatic bids from winning at the Tennis On Campus Fall or Spring Invitationals.
Participating teams who have received bids for this year’s USTA Tennis On Campus National Championship include the following schools: