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UF, Rollins Club Tennis Programs Receive Grants from USTA Florida

November 10, 2010 09:29 AM
Last season's University of Florida USTA Florida Campus Championship Section winners
Collegiate "club" tennis, where college and university non-varsity club players face other schools in team-format tournaments, has grown exponentially over the last five years, especially in the tennis hotbed of Florida. Two Florida club tennis programs, the University of Florida and Rollins College, have received a USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant for tennis supplies and travel costs to compete in the Florida "Tennis on Campus" circuit of team tournaments.

USTA Florida's "Share the Love" campaign is a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to promote a wide range of community tennis initiatives.

Every college and university in Florida with a "club" tennis team is eligible to compete in the USTA Florida "Tennis on Campus" series, a school-year calendar of tournaments leading to the USTA Florida Section Campus Championships in Daytona Beach, where teams can qualify for the annual USTA National Campus Championships.
The 2010-11 regular-season calendar includes the FSU Capital Challenge in Tallahassee, the UF Gatorbowl in Gainesville, the USF Bullrun in Tampa, the UCF Knightro Cup in Orlando, the FGCU Championships in Ft. Myers, and the UM IBIS Open in Miami. Last year, sectional USTA Campus Championships events attracted approximately 2,500 college club players on 325 teams from more than 200 different colleges and universities across the country.

"This past year our club membership has grown by about 50%, and we like to bring as many active members to tournaments as possible," said University of Florida Tennis Club President Jodi Kleiner, who says the UF Tennis Club, annually a powerhouse in the Florida Tennis on Campus series, dates to 1998. "As a part of university policy and an effort to keep our club affordable, we do not charge dues or fees for members, so this grant is really important for helping to grow our club. The competition has dramatically increased over the past few years, however the UF club team remains at the top of the pack. We have been winners or finalists in all of the tournaments the past few years, including coming in second at nationals in Arizona last year."

Rollins Club Tennis President Corey Berman says the grant will allow for greater travel to tournaments throughout Florida for the young Rollins program.

"The hype of competing against neighboring Florida colleges and universities is already spreading across Rollin's campus," Berman said. "Rollins College students are so excited about the school's initiation into the USTA Tennis on Campus program. This program is exactly what our school needed. Our club team can finally display our skills throughout the regional tournaments."

The USTA's Tennis On Campus co-ed program is designed to provide college students with opportunities for team camaraderie, social networking, and rivaled competition through tennis without the rigors of a varsity program -- perfect for athletes who have chosen not to make the jump from high school to college varsity tennis.

USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's "Share the Love" grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"The students in the UF and Rollins club tennis programs are valued participants in the USTA Florida Tennis on Campus series, which gets an amazingly-high talent level of kids who don't want to play college varsity tennis, or are rated just below that level," said USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michelle Willis. "It's with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these, and together we can reach our mission, 'To promote and develop the game of tennis in Florida.'"

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com.
For more information on Tennis on Campus events in Florida go to: http://www.florida.usta.com/College-Tennis-Pages/23473_Tennis_on_Campus/.






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