The Texas State club tennis team is preparing to take part in the 18th annual U.S. Tennis Association Tennis on Campus National Championship April 13-15 in Orlando, Florida at the USTA National Campus.
The national championship will consist of 64 teams, with close to 600 players from various schools taking part in this year’s tournament.
Created in 2000, the Tennis on Campus program has expanded over the past 17 years. As it currently stands, over 42,000 athletes from more than 700 colleges across the nation participate in the program.
To qualify for the event, teams must advance through USTA championship play or have been awarded automatic bids for victories in either the program’s fall or spring invitational. Texas State qualified for the tournament after finishing third overall in sectional play.
The club tennis team currently consists of close to 40 active members, however club president and team captain Tristan Thomas said that wasn’t always the case.
“I originally joined the club in the spring of 2016 and we were relatively small,” Thomas said. “We only had about 20 active members.”
Under Thomas’s tenure as president, things have improved for the team.
“Since taking on the role as president, I’ve doubled the size of the club,” Thomas said. “We have about 40 active members now, a lot of which are freshmen.”
The club takes pride not only in its growth, but also in the quality of its play and the clubs connection to the local community.
“On top of growth, you have to make sure that you have quality members, members that want to be active and want to go to the tournaments and do fundraisers or volunteer work,” Thomas said. “That’s a huge part of our organization.”
While understanding the importance of representing Texas State University on the national stage, the club president also understands the importance of enjoying the big stage events.
“Honestly, we’re going to have fun,” Thomas said. “Obviously, we all have a competitive spirit and we want to win, so we’re going to try and do our best to do that.”
It is the tennis teams first trip to nationals in about seven years, and they’re looking to take advantage of the opportunity as best they can.
“To my knowledge, the organization has been to this tournament before,” Thomas said. “It’s just been about seven years, so way before any of us came along.”
Thomas has full faith in the team’s abilities, and believes the key to winning the event depends on how mentally prepared the team is.
“If you don’t have your head on right, you can’t do that well,” Thomas said “So you may be at the top of your game physically, but unless you’re mentally there, you’re not going to succeed.”
The team begins play on April 13, against Northeastern University and win or lose Thomas feels being a part of the event is crucial to the future of the Texas State club tennis team.
“We surpassed Baylor, Houston and a lot of other big Texas Schools,” Thomas said. “Winning would really be making a name for ourselves and let everyone know that Texas State is here to stay.”