Tennis team sets sights on nationals

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Flores2-Tennis
Michael Draper, sophomore at the college, gets set up to hit a forehand during practice on April 30, 2013. Photo by Esaul Flores

By Sydney Studer

Spring sports teams are on a winning streak this season. The golf team just won a conference championship. The baseball team prepares for their sub-regionals and the track team continuously has first place finishes. The men’s and women’s tennis team specifically, are readying themselves for a run at Nationals.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams have a tradition of going to the National tournament. In 31 seasons, the women have gone 26 times and the men have gone 30, according to head coach Glen Moser. He said their goal is to make it into the top ten. They will have a  good shot considering the women’s top doubles team is ranked number one in the country; the duo of Shannon Beckett of Australia  and Erika Castillo Lopez of Mexico.

“[Being number one] gives us confidence,” Beckett said. “This season, we have proven to ourselves that we can be there. It’s the biggest tournament of the year, so obviously there is a lot of pressure being number one. We are just going to try and play really well… because we know what’s on our shoulders and not only the tournament coach’s, but ourselves, our team, we know what we want to do.”

The idea of being ranked number one at something is exciting and surreal to Castillo Lopez.

“Everyone is going to try and beat us,” Castillo Lopez said. “We are the ones to beat. I feel pressure, but at the same time, I feel happy to be the ones to beat this year. It doesn’t happen all of the time, all of the years that you play, that you’re the one to beat.”

In addition to the pressure on the duo because of their top ranking, the entire team faces weather challenges as the women prepare to compete in Tucson, Arizona starting May 4 and the men on May 11 in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

“We are looking for good weather right now,” said Glen Moser, head tennis coach. “We haven’t had any. We will hope that it gets warmer so that our transition is easier because when we get to Tucson, for example, it’s going to be 92 degrees every day.”

The weather can affect the team tremendously if it isn’t what they are used to.

“The difference is that it’s very dry in Tucson, so the girls don’t realize they’re sweating and they don’t feel as tired,” Moser said. “It’s going to be more humid in Dallas, which is very noticeable when you’re sweating like crazy.”

The team prepares for the difference in weather by keeping up with conditioning.

“We do wanna keep  he kids running, […]so that when they get in a 3-set match, they aren’t tuckered out by the end of the third because of the weather,” Moser said. “In terms of body language and not looking like you’re uncomfortable, that’s half of the battle.”

Once the teams arrive to their destination, it’s all about staying focused.

“Just hanging out with the teammates, really [is how I stay focused],” said men’s duo member Daniel De Zamacona*. “We all stay together in the hotel or we go hang out, walk around in the city. As long as we are all hanging out together, we stay focused and in the zone.”

Beckett also has a plan to stay focused during her time at nationals.

“I think we have to go in there positively,” she said. “Throughout the season, we have beat the top ten doubles teams in the country […] I think we have to keep calm and not be overwhelmed by the  situation.”

*Editor’s note: Daniel De Zamacona is the Photography Editor for The Campus Ledger.

Contact Sydney Studer, reporting correspondent, at sstuder1@jccc.edu

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