15 October 2019
To close out September, UCCS club tennis showed up early at Memorial Park for the first Mountain Lion Fall Classic — a two-day tournament that booked Memorial Park’s tennis courts from 8 a.m. on Sept. 28 until 7 p.m. on Sept. 29.
Teams from 14 universities, 28 in total, participated.
The first day of the tournament was dedicated to pool play. Four teams in each of seven pools faced off, competing for spots in Sunday’s championship brackets. Each pool played three rounds, with each round consisting of five sets; men’s and women’s doubles, men’s and women’s singles, and a mixed set.
Teams were seeded into five brackets on Sunday and progressed in a double elimination format.
The A team from Colorado State University Fort Collins were crowned tournament champions after placing No. 1 in the gold bracket. The Colorado School of Mines A team finished No. 2 overall, with the Air Force Academy’s A team finishing No. 3.
Club tennis is a member of the US Tennis Association (USTA), which operates similarly to the NCAA, overseeing club, collegiate, semi-professional, and professional teams in the US.
According to club tennis president Danielle Morin, the Mountain Lion Classic is the largest tournament of the year in the intermountain section of the USTA, which includes Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, and the southern half of Idaho.
Morin said she hopes that this was the first of many annual Mountain Lion Classics.
According to Morin, the next large tournament for club tennis will be the USTA Fall Tennis Invitational, where 48 teams will compete for a national title.
Morin said that it is the largest tournament of the year hosted by the USTA.
In order to qualify and be able to compete at large tournaments, club coach Hall Woods said that “UCCS Club Tennis works as hard as any NCAA team.”
“We try to emphasize being the best player you can be,” Morin said.
Woods said that some nationally ranked players will attend smaller schools without competitive collegiate teams for a variety of reasons, but he has seen a lot of good players in his time at UCCS. Nonetheless, Morin added, the team “tries to keep enjoyment a priority.” There is less pressure, she said, and more opportunity to relax and enjoy the game.
Alexa Hack, a UCCS junior studying business management, said that, when she first came to UCCS, she had no idea that there was any tennis team at the school. Joining the team, though, “was the best investment she could have made.”
Right now, Hack said, one priority of the team is to raise interest on campus and keep the sport alive. Morin and other club leaders will be graduating soon, leaving the team in a transition period and open to students looking to join the team for the first time.
“You’ll never regret it,” Hack said.