By: Kailyn Finnegan
Success can be achieved in a variety of ways. For inspiration, many look to iconic athletes and professional sports organizations that have surpassed expectations and achieved success throughout their careers. For the North Dakota State University’s (NDSU) Tennis On Campus team, success came as a result of their childhood friendships on the courts. By participating in the USTA’s youth tennis programs, the players on the NDSU club tennis team grew up learning and practicing the sport together, and plan to continue playing long after their Tennis On Campus careers are over.
"Part of our success can be attributed to friendships that first evolved while participating in youth and high school level tennis programs," said Sophomore and Team President Adam Gustad. "Five of the current NDSU doubles players competed together as former No-Cut teammates during their high school tennis days!"
The NDSU club tennis team is a young group-- consisting of only one senior and the rest freshmen and sophomores. Growing up, all of the NDSU players participated in the USTA’s No-Cut tennis program in high school. It was there where they had the opportunity to learn and play competitive tennis throughout high school which grew into a desire to continue playing at a college level with Tennis On Campus.
Since its inception in 2007, the club tennis team of NDSU has qualified for the National Championship every year and has grown to become a self-made model of a successful college tennis program. Although a very talented group of players, the team of NDSU understands winning isn’t the most important aspect of Tennis On Campus.
"Two years ago, our NDSU’s Tennis On Campus team declined its invitation to compete at Nationals," said Senior Kyle Christianson. "Instead, we chose to stay home to help the sandbagging effort during the terrible spring floods in the Fargo area."
"We are passionate about introducing others to the sport of tennis because we see how tennis has helped us become better people both on and off the court," said Adam Gustad. "Our commitment to giving back to the community as well as the bond we share as teammates has strengthened our character and has provided an elevated level of success for our Tennis On Campus program."
For additional stories and information about the 64 teams competing this weekend in the 2011 Tennis On Campus National Campus Championship stayed tuned and check out Tennisoncampus.com