Wash U.-Saint Louis
Excelling at Nationals
Amber Dieringer | April 22, 2019
St. Louis’s own Washington University recently took sixth place at the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship in Surprise, Arizona from April 11th-13th.
The team went on an impressive 3-0 run on Thursday, defeating Brigham Young University, Harvard University, and the University of South Carolina. On Friday evening, the team rallied to defeat NC State, and their impressive campaign came to an end when they lost to the University of Washington on Saturday morning.
The team’s notable performance did not come easy. They fought through a lot of comebacks and close matches and earned each of those four wins.
“What helped us pull it out is that we all just genuinely care, want it so much, and are willing to fight to everything,” said team co-captain Jenna Brambora. “We are a team of comebacks, and those were super big wins. ADVERTISEMENT The team morale in close situations is great because we are all so supportive.”
The team’s positive culture has contributed to their growth over the course of the season and in seasons past. This is the team’s fourth consecutive trip to the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship and they’ve finished progressively higher each year. Four years ago, Washington University placed 33rd in the tournament, and greatly overshot their initial goal of finishing in 16th place or higher this year.
The team’s positive culture has influenced more than just a deep Nationals run; practices, matches, and team functions have all improved due to the attitudes of team members.
“One key thing that has helped us along the way is the enthusiasm of the team members. There’s this positive environment of club tennis here. Practice is a break from school and it’s fun for us,” said team co-captain Sam Cohen. “It’s more calm and relaxed, which causes people to play better. This enthusiasm for tennis as a social, fun game is the number one factor for a positive team culture. People here rally around the love of the sport rather than the pressure of having to win.”
The team has had a lot of exciting opportunities this season, traveling to areas including Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas City, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Iowa, Orlando, and Phoenix. The competition is high, as the Wash. U. squad often faces some of the top Division-I schools in local and national tournaments.
The team as a whole is comprised of over 100 members, divided into a tiered system; the top 25-30 make the travel tier, the second-most skilled on the competitive tier, and the third-level players at the recreational tier, and all players practice together.
The program and their trips are mostly funded by the school, along with tournament cash prizes and small yearly dues from team members.