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Campus Championship Team Features

February 28, 2010 08:46 PM

Duke loses Top Players but still hopeful to Repeat National Championship


The Duke Club Tennis Team took the Tennis on Campus program by storm last year. They finished the Southern Section Campus Championships in fourth place, barely earning an automatic bid to the National Championship tournament in Surprise, AZ. Having a team built around two top boys, 6’6” Greg VanWinkle and Thibault Ducarme, a French force on the court, they made the trip to Arizona with hopes of making a good showing and having a great time. They did just that, winning the National Championship title by beating the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 26-21. It was the first national championship for a southern section team since UNC winning back to back in 2000 and 2001. Team leader Alex Tuna was recognized for his efforts by winning the Leader of the Year award by USTA Southern.


With all the accomplishments and success endeared by the team last year, it’s tough to think that one could recover after losing the top two guys in VanWinkle and Ducarme and the No. 2 girl in Jovana Pavisic, who went on to medical school at Yale University. They came to this year’s Section championship with sights on a return trip to Surprise. They still have Alex Tuna on court, who will graduate this year and also can rely on Rayni Rabinovitz, who was a top 50 juniors player before attending Duke. They filled in the empty roster spots with three freshmen, all heavily recruited by Division I schools, with Stephanie Dudzinski, Lisa Chi and Jennifer Huang.


The team may have missing forces on the court from last year’s national championship team but they don’t feel any less confident on their ability. “We are hopeful to make it back to Arizona for the National Championship,” states Marni Seigel, Women’s Co-President. “We had the most girls ever come and try out for out team last year with almost 50 girls showing up. We have a full team with a lot of talent and feel good about our chances of returning to defend our title.”

Duke will have try its defense of a national championship by first receiving a lottery bid to the tournament. After being upset in the quarterfinals by Auburn, Duke missed an automatic bid to the April event.

First Timers are no Rookies for Tulane


After years of being a club team on the campus of Tulane University, the Green Wave finally made its first appearance at the USTA Southern Section Campus Championships. Tulane has traveled to several matches this past year for the first time due to the incoming leader and organization of Justin Fielkow. Fielkow, a New Orleans native, played on the club team for University of Wisconsin where he received his undergraduate degree.


During his undergrad years, he organized matches and mini- tournaments with Tulane players while home for holidays, mardi gras or summer breaks.  After graduation, Fielkow was accepted into Tulane Law School at the midst of a change in organization of the team. Playing for a club team in the Midwest Section, Fielkow was very aware of the opportunities that the past Tulane teams were missing out on, so there was no question in the kind of leadership he could bring to the team.


This year, he has helped the team accomplish many firsts. They organized their first traveling team making the road trips throughout the section to such schools as Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga. and Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Tulane hosted its first ever tournament, of course a Mardi Gras tournament, that brought in 12 teams from eight different schools throughout the country. The team made its first trip to the Section Campus Championships taking advantage of the opportunity to meet new friends and opponents.


Tulane looks to grow stronger and more competitive in the future. “When I played at Wisconsin, I would set up tournaments with them and some buddies since I was from New Orleans so I was familiar with the program,” states Fielkow. “I got accepted into Tulane Law right at the start of a change over so it was good timing. It’s our first year with a traveling team, with 8 here this weekend and 20 total on the team, it’s the start of something big for this team at Tulane!”




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