The United States Tennis Association, or USTA, has become a pivotal piece of growing a club tennis program at Armstrong. The USTA heads not just college tennis club teams, but also hosts tournaments and matches for younger and older age groups. Director of the USTA Tennis On Campus program, Glenn Arrington, talked about what the USTA means for college students and how it grounds them.
“The USTA Tennis On Campus provides college students with a host of opportunities for team camaraderie, social networking and unrivaled competition through tennis—without the demand of a varsity program. Thousands of high school players enter college each fall and the club tennis team provides an incredible corridor to easing this transition by providing access to a healthy, social campus life. Because these programs are student-led – there’s great amount of leadership developed,” Arrington said with enthusiasm. “All in all, Tennis On Campus helps students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years and helps them build skills that they will need as they move into their young adult lives.”
The Armstrong Club Tennis Team started in the Fall 2014 semester and currently have fifteen consistent members on the team. The team was started after sophomore Renzo Lazo, senior Amelia Newton, and a few other students decided to start a club tennis team on campus. The team was approached by Jason Salzer with the Armstrong Recreation and Wellness Center and told them about USTA and its required registration to be an official club team.
The team has since played in two tournaments against larger universities such as Clemson, Duke, and Wisconsin. They most recently competed in a tournament in Tennessee where they won their first career match. They have also held practice matches against Georgia Southern University.
“When I first came to college, I loved playing tennis,” Lazo, who is also Club President, said. “I have been playing since I was a little kid. If you’re a freshmen, you don’t really get to know anyone. You don’t have much to do and you are just kind of stuck in your room all the time. I feel it’s beneficial to most of the younger students. They can always come out and play. We are just out there to have fun.”
Lazo explained that some of the players have more experience than others and that’s why he likes to call the club a JV to the varsity squad on campus. He also mentioned that Newton is one of their more experienced players. She talked about how she has helped this young club grow over the last few
“I use my experience with club tennis to make competitive tennis more accessible and beneficial to our team,” Newton said. “With every tournament, the interest, camaraderie, and playing level of our team improves.”
The team has grown tremendously over the last semester and a half and they invite anyone who is interested to come out to practice any time they like, no matter your experience. They practice on the courts next to Alumni Arena every Monday and Wednesday evening from 5-7.