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Powerhouse Florida Gators Club Team Wins FSU Capital Challenge 'Tennis on Campus' Title

September 15, 2010 03:06 PM
The University of Florida "A" squad champions
The Florida State University "A" squad runners-up
The University of Florida 'Tennis on Campus' co-ed club team came into enemy territory last weekend and came out with a title during the 2010 FSU Capital Challenge, held Sept. 11-12 on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee. The UF-"A" squad edged the FSU-"A" squad 24-22 in the final. The USTA Florida 'Tennis on Campus' events are a series of tournaments open to college tennis "club" teams that compete against each other in an effort to win the USTA Florida Section title and qualify for the USTA National Campus Championships.

The champion UF-"A" team was comprised of Ft. Myers' residents Kenny Palmer, Philipp Richter and Shane Vanghan; Yuri Pompeu of Brazil; Tampa's Jodi Kleiner: Keely Dahl of Gainesville; Abby Lindsley of Melbourne; and Emily Gfesser of Palm Beach Gardens. The runner-up FSU-"A" squad included Evan Addington of Melbourne, Eddie Mathews of Winter Haven, Michael Kopelman of Treasure Island, Stephanie Barriero of Houston, Tex., Cody Gusto of Sarasota, and Boca Raton's Sheena Sanil and Nicole Sbircea.

In the consolation final the University of Central Florida "C" team defeated the UCF-"E" squad. Other participating schools were Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of South Florida. Tennis on Campus uses the co-ed World TeamTennis format, which each match consists of a men's and woman's singles and doubles, and a mixed doubles.

"I think all in all the tournament went well," said host Agustina Colombo, president of the FSU Tennis Club, who added that the turnout was higher than expected. "We didn't have t-shirts for everyone because there were so many teams. The final between UF-A and FSU-A was an extremely close match, all the players did an excellent job and showed great sportsmanship."

The University of Florida co-ed club team, an annual powerhouse, has won the season-ending USTA Florida Campus Championships three years in a row, and is the only Florida club team to win the USTA National Campus Championship, capturing the title in  2003.

Last season (2009-2010) three Florida club teams, the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast University, received automatic or wildcard bids to the USTA National Campus Championship. This season the 2011 USTA National Campus Championship will be held on April 7-9, 2011, at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, North Carolina.

"Tennis on Campus is growing fast in Florida," says USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michelle Willis. "I am so happy that FSU's Capital Challenge had 18 teams participate from five different universities. The popularity of the college series events required us to add an additional event at FGCU this year. We are receiving three bids to nationals this year so the series events are really important to the clubs participating. The series winners receive 50 points towards getting the wildcard bid. Clubs in attendance receive 10 points just for coming. At the USTA Florida Campus Championship, the champion and finalist move on to Nationals. The next team with the highest points gets the wildcard."

Remaining events on the 2010-2011 USTA Florida 'Tennis on Campus' tournament schedule are:

Oct. 2-3 -- UF Gatorbowl, Gainesville, $30.00/Team
Oct. 23-24 -- USF Bullrun, Tampa, $30.00/Team
Nov. 20-21 -- UCF Knightro Cup, Orlando, $30.00/Team
Jan. 29-30 -- FGCU Championships, Ft. Myers, $30.00/Team
Feb. 27-28 - USTA Florida Campus Championship, Orlando, $125.00/Team
March 5-6 -- UM IBIS Open, Miami, $15/Person
April 7-9 -- USTA National Campus Championship, Cary, N.C.
* Calendar and fees subject to change

What is Tennis On Campus?
The USTA's Tennis On Campus program is designed to provide college students with opportunities for team camaraderie, social networking, and on-campus and inter-school competition through tennis outside the NCAA varsity realm. Perfect for athletes who have chosen not to make the jump from high school to college varsity, Tennis On Campus offers co-ed team-based play, regional and national championship competition, and helps students maintain active and healthy lifestyles through their college years. Currently the program is offered on over 500 college campuses and services over 30,000 students.

Tennis On Campus tournaments throughout the year involve sport club tennis teams at colleges and universities, and in Florida culminate with the USTA Florida Campus Championships, where teams advance to the USTA National Campus Championship in Arizona. Past participants in the Tennis On Campus program in Florida include Eckerd College, Flagler College, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Stetson University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, and University of South Florida.

USTA National Campus Championship
The USTA National Campus Championship is the pinnacle of the Tennis On Campus program. Hosted in partnership by the USTA, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), World TeamTennis (WTT), and Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), this venue features 64 college and university co-ed teams competing for bragging rights and the title of National Campus Champion. Club tennis teams can qualify for a bid to the USTA National Campus Championship through participation in their USTA section's USTA Campus Championship, or by applying for an at-large bid. In 2009 the University of Central Florida finished third at the USTA National Campus Championship, the best of any Florida team.

For more information about Tennis on Campus in Florida, e-mail USTA Florida's Michelle Willis at willis@florida.usta.com.

USTA Florida Tennis on Campus Championship Winners:
2010 -- University of Florida
2009 -- University of Florida
2008 -- University of Florida
2007 -- University of Central Florida
2006 -- University of Central Florida
* Prior to 2006, all Florida teams advanced straight to nationals

USTA National Campus Championship Winners:
2010 -- University of California -- Berkeley
2009 -- Duke University
2008 -- University of Texas -- Austin
2007 -- Texas A&M University -- College Station
2006 -- Texas A&M University -- College Station 
2005 -- Texas A&M University -- College Station
2004 -- Texas A&M University -- College Station
2003 -- University of Florida
2002 -- Texas A&M University
2001 -- University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill
2000 -- University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill






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