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2009 USTA Southern Campus Championships

February 27, 2009 07:00 AM
Day 3
Play finally resumed in rain-soaked and snow-laden Dothan, Ala. as Auburn defeated NC State 28-22 to take the 2009 USTA Southern Campus Championships.

South Carolina downed Duke 30-17 to take third place. Clemson won the consolation bracket with a 24-13 defeat of Tennessee.

Here's is the final standings:
1. Auburn
2. NC State
3. South Carolina
4. Duke
5. Clemson
6. Tennessee
7. College of Charleston
7. Georgia Tech

For colplete results, to the Championship Bracket.


Day 2
White Out....
The weather continues to play a major role in Dothan as Campus Championships role into its final day of play. WIth tournament brackets ready and players on courts bright and early, high winds, cold temperatures and SNOW flurries invaded the town. "Isn't Alabama supposed to have nice weather?", one participant asks.

No Practice Makes Perfect…
Despite having the hardship of lacking courts for practice, the University of Arkansas club team continues to compete and have fun. They were denied access to the tennis facility on campus being told it was only for use by its varsity tennis teams leaving the team only eight public courts in the entire city and a few private racquet clubs as options for practice courts. In its third year with the Tennis on Campus program, the first two options of paying memberships at the private club became too expensive and working around the local high school team schedule at the public park became too time sensitive, but nothing was worse than the difficulties they faced this year with what they originally thought would be the overall solution.


They negotiated with one of the local public parks to pay for use of four lit courts three days a week. Participation at practice flourished and team captain Chelsey Castrodale was hoping for one the team’s best seasons. "We had the highest participation ever," states Castrodale, "with 20 people regularly out there a night, which wasn’t easy on only four courts." However, in late January, just when they began preparation for a big match in new Orleans and the Sectional Championships, devastation hit Fayetteville with an ice storm on January 26th that shut down the city and destroyed the park. The park was closed ending the team’s practice schedule. After clean up and reconstruction began a couple weeks later, the team was offered two courts at their park and two other courts across town for practice. The parks are officially still closed and do not have lights. The team held practice in the evening. With the tournament fast approaching, they had no choice but to accept and make it work if they wanted any practice time before traveling to Dothan. "We’re pretty much used to these court issues by now", jokes Castrodale, "so it’s not much of a surprise when something like this happens. We make it work. Despite these issues, our team is ready and excited to play!" Arkansas had an impressive showing even with shortened practice times. They took a victory over UT-Chattanooga before falling to Georgia Tech. They start Sunday action as the top-seed in the Gold Bracket on Championship Day.


Day 1
Rain Downpours in Dothan

When severe weather and storms were forecasted for the Dothan area on Friday, inclement weather started to play a role with the Campus Championships even before play began. Tournament Director Jeff Smith was flooded with calls before teams started the journey to Dothan to make sure the tournament was still on. The field of 28 dropped to 25 when teams from North Carolina and South Carolina dropped out in fear of the weather. With Friday sunny and bright in Dothan, there were hopes to bypass the storms and tornado warnings hitting miles north in Birmingham.


With winds gusting and clouds rolling in, the tournament action kicked off Saturday morning with completion of all first round matches. After a lunch break and with the second round matches on court to warm up, rain finally struck the tournament. Teams were released from facilities and put on rain delay for a couple hours. After completing the second round in sunshine, teams were released for dinner only to return to downpour and cancellation of all play for the remainder of the night. The Championship Bracket will be played out with a revised schedule on Sunday.

The rain delay did serve as a benefit to many participants, especially the Emory University team. With all other teams away from the host site, Westgate Tennis Center, the students turned the lounge area into a study hall. The tournament falls in the middle of mid-term exams for most schools so when not found with a racquet in hand, they can be found with a book and highlighter.

WARNING....Play at Your Own Risk! Animals on Court!




Many teams have traditions, pep talks or team building activities for member initiation but Valdosta State has a unique way of welcoming a player...animal nicknames! It started when the first four guys on the team were handing out nicknames to each other based on personality and the type of animal they resemble on the court. Team Captain Keith Barger, nicknamed Flying Phoenix because of how much he jumps around, states that it started with a committee that would name new members of the team once they played their first tournament match. Greg Anzalone, "Weasel" because of how sneaky he can be on court, describes it similar to the book series "AniMorphs" that he read in grade school. "It’s when these humans morph into animals. If you watch everyone on the court, they play like an animal and mixed with personalities, resemble an animal." states Anzalone.

Anzalone expressed some concern in nicknames being misplaced on players, but Barger disagreed! For example, Amanda Martin is nicknamed "Parakeet" because of her voice and happy personality on court. "She always smiles and just listen to her voice," says Barger. "If that doesn’t resemble a parakeet then I don’t know what does. Have you ever seen a sad parakeet?" Other nicknames on used on the team are: SpiderMonkey (Matt Vongsansanh) for his random movements on court that make no sense, Raccoon (Manny Cortez) for his quickness and Bear (Drew Chaney) because he is a strong and physical player. Nicole Hall is the newest member playing for her nickname this tournament.








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