By: Katie Timinsky & Kailyn Finnegan
It’s the final day of the 2011 National Campus Championship and although torrential downpours soaked the courts and left a chill in the air at the Cary Tennis Center, this morning’s semifinal matches still managed to bring the heat. In a battle of East vs. West the Bruins from UCLA defeated the University of Central Florida Golden Knights, 27-21. Facing one another in the 2010 Championship match, U.C. Berkeley and the University of Florida met again in this year’s semifinal, with the University of Florida coming out on top by a score of 25-16. After three tough days of competition, the final match will be the ultimate test as UCLA takes on the University of Florida.
The Future of Tennis: It was all smiles and laughter at last night’s 10 and Under Mash-Up event as several Tennis On Campus teams took a step back in time and remembered what it was like when they were young and just starting out in tennis. This time around, however, instead of using racquets that were too small on courts that were too big they were able to use the age adjusted equipment that kids today have the opportunity to play with.
"I can’t believe how talented these kids are," said Oakland University player Ana Mancoci. "When I was their age I could hardly hit the ball over the net and these kids are volleying back and forth for minutes at a time. The competition at the TOC Championship is tough enough already, I can’t imagine what it will be like when these kids are old enough to play."
Last night’s event was hosted by a group of hard-working and dedicated USTA staff including Mid-Atlantic Section Coordinator, Alanna Broderick who holds a special place in her heart for the 10 and Under program.
"I’ve been involved with 10 and Under tennis for about a year and a half now," Alanna stated. "This program is so important because it is geared toward making kids not only technically better but smarter players as well. It teaches kids the right skills to be successful which ultimately keeps them in the sport."
If last night was any indication of how talented these young kids are then the future certainly looks bright for the sport of tennis.
Tennis Making a Difference: The USTA will further expand upon their advocacy outreach by working with Student Veterans of America, an organization which provides military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. By years end the collaboration will expand to 50 colleges and universities in an effort to welcome student veterans back to their college life through tennis. This collaboration will be announced at the White House on Tuesday, April 12th during Michele Obama and Jill Biden’s "Joining Forces" initiative for reaching out to military families.
Good Sport: As the final countdown continues for the highly anticipated National Championship match, time is also ticking away for officials, spectators and coaches to submit their final votes for the 2011 Tennis On Campus Sportsmanship Award. The winner will be recognized by the USTA and presented with a plaque during the awards ceremony which will take place on center court following the Championship final.
for more news and photos from the 2011 USTA National Campus Championship.