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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Tennis team holds annual pro-am tournament

Friday, November 16, 2007  
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By Stefanie Trent

The Oklahoma Christian University varsity tennis team recently put on their annual pro-am tournament to raise money for their spring break trip to Orlando, Fla. The tournament paired Eagle and Lady Eagle tennis players with people who paid to play in the event.

“Varsity players were the pros, and those who paid were amateurs. We teamed them up and played one set to six” tennis coach Lisa Johnson said. “Then came and told me who won, and then they would match up with a different partner.”

Each participant was partnered with an Oklahoma Christian player, and the team played another team to six games then switched partners and got to play with a different Oklahoma Christian player.

“It was a humbling experience being looked up to.  You don’t realize that people look up to you, and it just makes you aware of how your actions on and off the court affects people thoughts about you,” Jennifer Le said. “Hopefully, I can be a positive influence on those high school kids.”

There was a large group from Anadarko who came to play. The group was made up of the local high school team and coaches.

“I know the coach from there, and she brought her whole team,” coach Johnson said.

The event was also a great chance for some of Oklahoma Christian’s school administrators to get involved with the tennis program. Executive Vice President, Alfred Branch, and Dean of Students, Neil Arter, participated in the tournament and played along with several team members.

“I always love to support all student programs on campus whether they are athletic or otherwise,” Branch said. “It is important for the students to see we support what they do.”

The participants came from all different levels of skill and background in the sport. There were high school students who play year around to children to seasoned vets such as Branch.

“I gained an appreciation for how talented the team is,” Branch said. “I am glad that they carried me heavily in the sets I played with them, especially Gabriela [Nastasa].”

The tournament was held at Kickingbird Tennis Center which was also one of the sponsors for the event. Sponsorships were sold before the tournament, and all the sponsor names were placed on the back of a T-shirt given to all the participants.

The event raised $1,700 which will go towards helping the team go to Orlando, Fla. over Spring Break. While the team is there, they will play Embry-Riddle University, Webber International and The College of Saint Catherine. This will provide the team with extra experience before nationals on May 12-16, 2008.

“I am really excited about the trip to Orlando,” Le said. “It is my last year to play college tennis, so it is exciting to be able to go to Florida with the whole team.”

The team played in five matches this fall and will return to action in the spring semester.

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