Club tennis looks to gain recognition with competitive schedule

Although the Geneseo club tennis team has been around for a while, the team has become more organized this season, having just won a tournament hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Geneseo prevailed over not only the host, but also other participants such as Binghamton University, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Brockport and Clarkson University. It was the team's first tournament of the year, but there should be more to come during the spring semester.

"For the spring semester, we're planning to utilize some courts in the area and we have some tournaments scheduled as well," senior Alexandra Dananberg said.

Dananberg noted that the team has already been in contact with club teams at SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College about future tournaments.

Although club tennis cannot be compared to varsity tennis in terms of competitiveness, that is precisely the reason that the club is gaining popularity.

"I get to work on my form and just compete," junior Veronica Skolnick said. "It's nice to have something that's not as competitive as varsity tennis, but something where you still get to play and meet new people."

Some of the members are former varsity athletes who have been playing tennis for many years. The club gives them the chance to compete at a semi-competitive level.

"I've been playing tennis for quite a long time and I transferred here, so at my community college, I actually played junior college tennis," senior Ali Krowiak said. "I still wanted that competitive aspect like my other counterparts did."

Team captain junior Justin Bunyan runs three practices per week during the warm seasons, organizing drills to keep the team in form. Although many members are playing at either an intermediate or advanced level, the club is open to anyone.

"We also accept beginners," Skolnick said. "That's why we like club tennis: because it's for all levels and it's more relaxed."

As for the team's top performers in practice and during the tournaments, there's a long list. Some of the team's best players are freshmen who may continue to the development of the club, such as freshmen Jimmy Anania and Harrison Hipolito. Other top performers include Bunyan and sophomore Kevin Zablonski.

Because the club has gone through periods of inactivity in the past, the officers are hoping that the current underclassmen will continue to establish the club as an active organization on campus.

"This is the first year we've really established ourselves on campus," Dananberg said. "We're definitely going to play more tournaments and get our name out more. We'd like to establish the underclassmen so they can continue to keep it going."

As they work to improve the team's reputation, the team members also recognize that a lot of progress has already been made in the last couple years.

"It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I decided to take action and make it into a more uniform club with more competitions,” Skolnick said. “I'm so proud of where it's come because I never even expected to go to a tournament, let alone beat six other schools. I'm really proud of the team and everyone who's joined. I've made a lot of good friends and it's been a really fun experience."