Tennis is a global sport well known for its complicated scoring techniques and how fast the ball can fly. The subtleties in technique and footwork are admired in tennis players when newcomers enter the court for the first time. On campus, there is a group of students that seeks to improve on their these techniques while experiencing the fun and joy that comes with the sport.
The tennis club meets every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 4:30 till sundown and every Sunday from 1-4pm. As of now, the club is 50 members strong, ranging from undergraduates to graduates and lifetime players. These practices are formal but flexible; meaning if someone has class during that time or too much homework over the weekend, attendance is not required. These practice times are generally used for matches and games such as dingles* and olympic tennis**.
“I like the people of the tennis club. Everyone is out there wanting to have fun and play,” says team member Katarina Bujnoch, a junior in mechanical engineering. Currently number one of the female members, she enjoys the atmosphere of the courts when practice is in session and plays to her heart’s content.
“It is a great way to end a long day. Tennis is an outlet from education stress and it is especially fun because everyone is so nice,” says Kyle Crews, also a junior in mechanical engineering. The atmosphere created is different from the one that exists on campus. Sure, there is still that worry about classes and exams but on court, nothing really matters besides the ball. If someone does not pay attention, he or she will get hit. There is no room for worry about classes unless they want to get pegged.
Meet the Coach:
The club coach, Bernie Bergman, is an alumni of Mines himself. His major is chemical engineering and he stepped up as the coach for three years as of now. “Its a good way to give back to the school and the club.” He started playing tennis when he was 13, playing ping pong before he picked up a racket. He works two jobs: one at Enserca Engineering and the other at the Arvada Tennis Club.
President Austin Kauffman is in his junior year, majoring in computer science. He started tennis in seventh grade, inspired by his older sister. That love of tennis carried into high school years, where he played for his team. To him, “tennis is a fun way to pass time.”
Kira Dickey, a junior in geophysical engineering, is the vice president of the tennis club. She started playing tennis when she was in eighth grade, developing into the singles player she is today. She started the sport because her sisters played. “I came to Mines because it was the best engineering school with in-state tuition. Tennis is a break from studying.”
Treasurer Brandt Theander is a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering. As of present, he is the most experienced player on the team, playing since he was four years old. His competitive tennis career started at 10, carrying him into the high school varsity team. Ever since he graduated high school, he has been hitting around and has taught the sport to individuals of all ages. “Playing tennis allows you to spend time with family and friends. It is a social sport.”
Taylor Madden, Secretary of the team, is a senior in civil engineering. The latest individual to start tennis of the officers, she started in freshman year of high school. Playing for the club team, she also earned the title of “Megatron” for her amazing and powerful shots. “I’ve been playing mostly doubles and have loved playing for our team.”
Risk Manager Jenna Jarvis majors in chemical and biochemical engineering and is in her senior year. Her interest in tennis became apparent as she played with family members and eventually for her high school varsity team. “I think it’s a great sport because you have the chance to use agility, strength and grace all at the same time…not that I’m claiming that I can do any of those. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet new people, and work out stress.”
To find out more about the team, visit the tennis club homepage at http://recsports.mines.edu/REC-Club-Sports-Tennis. If you see any players, wish them luck as the matches against CSU and UNC are quickly approaching.
*Dingles is a game that can be played down the line or cross court. There are four people on court with two tennis balls in play. If its being played cross court, the two players diagonal of each other are playing each other. The first one not to hit diagonally calls dingles and the remaining tennis ball can be hit anywhere. The team that misses both balls loses the point. If the two teams split–meaning they win one ball and miss the other–no one gets a point. If a team wins both balls, they get the point. Its played to a certain number of points and the team that hits that goal wins.
*Olympic tennis is also played as a doubles pair. One team is at the net, hitting volleys–balls that do not bounce before being returned– and the other team, “the challengers” is at the furthest line that runs parallel to the net. The goal is to make the team at the net miss two tennis balls. The challengers will then replace them, running to the otherside to return a tennis ball that is hit high. If the challengers manage to touch it, they stay on that side till they miss two tennis balls. It continues until the coach says to stop.