Tennis players put on teaching caps

By Michael Zavala

It was a perfect day for tennis – blue skies and open courts all
ready to be played on.

Sandy Kriezel, head coach of Cal Poly’s tennis teams, made sure
Kellogg Tennis Complex was put to full use Saturday when she and
the men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted a tennis clinic that was
open to the general public.

“It’s a fun Saturday morning,” said Kriezel. “All the
student-athletes are smiling and enjoying themselves. It’s a good
way for them to give back to the community.”

One of those student-athletes was Jake Magnant, a third-year
history student who plays for the men’s tennis team. When he was in
high school, Magnant did not have the opportunity to participate in
a clinic of the sort offered by Cal Poly, which made him want to
work that much more with the people who joined.

“I think something like this would’ve been good for me,” said
Magnant. “It’s all about having fun and enjoying tennis for what it
is. A lot of the high school kids here have been coached so much
every day, and we’re trying to offer them a break from that.”

During the clinic, student-athletes coach the participants on
tennis fundamentals via games tailored to work on certain aspects
of the game, which the tennis teams play during their practices.
“Queen of the Court,” for instance, is a doubles game that tests
teamwork, agility and volleying.

The frenetic nature of these games hooked some of those who came
to the clinic.

“I liked the doubles drills,” said Mike Chee, a senior computer
information systems and accounting student. “‘Olympics’ was fun. It
involves a lot of stamina.”

Chee also said he liked that there were so many people around
who were excited for tennis.

According to Kriezel, the clinics have grown a lot in their
second year. There were about 17 participants in the first clinic
earlier in the year, and Saturday there were about 40 people in the
clinic.

The clinics serve as an important fundraiser for the tennis
program, Kriezel said. They raise between $600 and $1,000 per
clinic, which can pay for a road trip during the season or uniforms
for the team.

But the impact they have on the participants cannot be measured
in dollars.

“You don’t know what impact you’ll make on the kids,” said
Kriezel. “You never know who you will touch and make them say, ‘I
want to play at Cal Poly.'”

To help foster an appreciation for Cal Poly and to give curious
high school students a taste of the college experience, Kriezel had
some of her student-athletes give a quick tour of the campus.

Items were also raffled off during the clinic. Some of the items
given away included a Cal Poly water bottle, Cal Poly tennis
apparel and, the grand prize, a new Prince tennis bag.But it was
the opportunity to go outside, stretch one’s legs and enjoy a good
game of tennis in the fresh air and warm sun that was the main draw
for some.

First-year food and nutrition student Lilibeth Katigbak had been
searching for something to get her out of her room and away from
studying at all hours of the day.

“I was watching the French Open and thought, ‘I miss tennis,'”
said Katigbak. “It’s my first time here, and I want to do it again
as often as possible. I wish I would have known about it when I was
in high school.”

Katigbak also liked how lively and friendly the student-athletes
were when working with everyone in the clinic.

There was friendly competition among the student-athletes as
well. Second-year kinesiology student Joshua Lau had a fierce rally
session with third-year civil engineering student Jeffrey
Vachirajongkol, though both were laughing afterward, even as Lau
bounced an overhand smash over Vachirajongkol’s head.

“We jump in enough to have fun with the kids,” said
Magnant.Kriezel said the next clinic will be offered in
October.

Tennis players put on teaching caps

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Tennis players put on teaching caps

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