By Fabiola Aceves, May 9, 2023
The Cal Poly Pomona Tennis Club won the Copper Bracket at the 2023 USTA Tennis on Campus National Championships, defeating the North Dakota State University’s club 30-13 in the grand finals.
The USTA on Campus National Championship was a three-day tournament that took place from April 6 to April 8. The first day consisted of three rounds of pool play. In round one, the CPP team was defeated by Penn University 30-19. In the second round, the CPP team was once again defeated by Baylor University 26-20. However, the team came out triumphant in the third round by defeating Illinois 21-20.
The knockout rounds began on the second day of the competition. In the first two knockout rounds of the Copper Bracket, the team defeated the University of Tennessee and Texas Christian University.
Competing at a high level like this one can be very intimidating. While the drive to Arizona was a mere 5-hour drive, there were other teams that were from farther states that had to fly there. Despite the pressure, the team managed to stay calm and focused.
“We were the underdogs, so I didn’t feel as nervous,” said CPP tennis club player Ryan Trinh. “I felt like the whole team really stepped it up.”
After two days of competing, the team was able to advance to the semifinal. The team had finally qualified for the final match in the Copper Bracket by eliminating Colorado State University. The win surpassed the team’s own expectation and added to the excitement they were already feeling.
“We also weren’t expecting to do as well as we did,” said Abby Yuen, another player who competed in Arizona. “We were excited and a little nervous to play people from that level because the level of competition was really impressive.”
Reaching the final round of the Copper Bracket meant that the team would face North Dakota State University. The CPP team claimed victory with a score of 30-13. This win meant that the club had not only made their first ever Nationals appearance in club history but also won the bracket overall.
“I felt extremely happy to be able to do that on our first run, especially given that the club just started up again in the fall and then to be able to achieve that in a one-year time span,” said Trinh.
The win was important for the team because it placed them in 49th place overall in the Southern California teams.
Mai Jara, faculty advisor and assistant professor of kinesiology and health promotion attested to the team’s hard work. Their strong work ethic is what Jara believes led them to this win.
“They work hard,” Jara said. “Every moment that they have, they are practicing on the tennis court. They have this Discord chat where somebody is always hollering, ‘Hey I am at the tennis court, can somebody come?’”
The club is divided into three different teams, labelled Team A, B and C. Despite being divided into multiple teams, club members still mentor and help younger members practice and improve.
“Their willingness to teach and mentor these B and C teams, they have this mentality of building the team together,” said Jara.
The three teams have come together and have created friendships on and off the court. They have a bond that has been solidified by their win at the championships, and they hope to continue their success.
“We’re all friends, and everyone is super supportive of each other, and they genuinely help each other,” said Yuen.
Feature image courtesy of Abby Yuen
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