Tennis at Mines has a long history, existing in some form or another since at least 1913 and perhaps even earlier. From the early 1970s until 2005, Mines men competed at the varsity level, garnering four RMAC championships and countless postseason appearances. On and off since at least 1972, Mines women have fielded a club team, but to this day have never officially competed in NCAA play. Club Tennis in its current form has existed since 2005, with each year since then proving to be more fulfilling than the last. Just this 2012 fall season, both the Mines men and women competed in the USTA’s coed Fall Invitational in Hilton Head, South Carolina, an elite club level tournament that plays host to over a dozen nationally ranked teams. Competing amongst almost entirely Division I universities with an average of five times the number of student enrollment, Mines reached the semifinals and earned a fourth place finish in a field of 32 teams.
With the disbanding of the varsity tennis program at Mines in 2004-2005, the Club Tennis team takes on the dual role of competing at both the NCAA/NAIA varsity level and NIRSA/NCCS club level for both men and women. Competition extends year round with many scheduled club level and varsity level dual matches and tournaments for both the fall and spring semesters. Notable tournaments for the 2012-2013 season include the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Fall Invitational, USTA Spring Invitational, USTA Intermountain Sectionals, and USTA Tennis on Campus (TOC) Nationals.
The tennis club plays against many varsity and club schools from across the nation. Currently practices are held at a minimum of three times per week while in season with conditioning and indoor practice being held during the winter months. Although the team practices year round, the most intense months of the season are August, September, and October in the fall, and February, March, April, and May in the spring. As the team progresses and new competition is found, the exact schedule changes each semester to accommodate different schedules besides the tournaments listed above.
The team is primarily funded through player dues, their generous friends and family, and corporate sponsorships. This year the team will be holding a “Panda Express Night” to give fellow students an easy way to help out. Club t-shirts are also available to help fund and promote the club. Additionally, club members work with the local tennis community to share their passion for tennis all around the metro area. The club is also actively looking for more fundraising opportunities to help fund further match play for all club members.
Tennis may be one of the newest additions to the Club Sports Department, but it is by no means the smallest or least developed. In fact, thriving interest allows Club Tennis to field three distinct teams totaling more than 30 members, with nearly half being women. Club Tennis is always hunting for additional talent. The club encourages all Mines students to contact the team if they are interested in playing tennis at any level. Club Tennis is a no-cut program, promising to include any who wish to play at least semi-competitively. Members’ skill levels range from former high school junior varsity athletes to former NCAA varsity players and nationally ranked juniors.
Anybody can email Club Tennis at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the clubs website at http://recsports.mines.edu/REC-Club-Sports-Tennis with inquires.