By Taylor Baker
This year the National Junior College Athletic Association, (NJCAA) Division III Women’s Tennis National Championship was at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. on Wed. Oct. 26 to Fri. Oct. 28 where the United States Tennis Association is located.
Before the championship the NJCAA made a statement to the girls tennis team. “Congratulations on your success! But don’t let it end here,” said Mary Ellen Leicht, Executive Director of the NJCAA. “Continue to use the same tools that got you to this point to lead you even further.”
The college tennis team made it to nationals, and this year the championship was held where the US Open plays. Before the event, the Tournament Committee wished the players a lot success in this past season. All teams that were involved in the tournament were required to stay at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel. Each school was responsible for their transportation and costs while attending the Championship. The hotel is 10 minutes to the National Tennis Center. The entry fee for the players is $60 per player and per event is $720 for a team.
For The College to make it to nationals was an exiting occasion. Their schedule was a four day event. The first day was where the coaches met at the hotel at 1PM and by 6:30PM the team was invited to a championship banquet before the first day of play.
“We are proud to host this year’s event and hope everyone will enjoy their visit to New York,” said the president of The College, Shawn McKay. “I wish the best of luck to all the participating teams and individual competitions who have trained so hard to reach this very special day.”
The College’s Head Coach, Department Chair of Physical Education, and college courses Chris Cosenza has coached the men’s tennis team at the college since 2004 and the women’s team since 2006 making it a total of seven years. As the women’s tennis coach for five years now he was thrilled and proud of what they accomplished.
“We definitely went up agents some tough competition, which we expected, we qualified for the tournament but didn’t win our reign this year, so we knew it was going to be difficult, I knew that going in, but it was really a matter of just the experience for the players. Some of them are first years, so I know I’ll have a lot of them next year, and I hope to do better next season,” said Cosenza.
There was a mandatory meeting for all Head Coaches before the plays took place. Coaches were able to reserve courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the cost of $20 per court. The next day at 9AM the players began to play. An athletic trainer was on site each day from 9AM to 5PM. The college team is made up of six girls, Elena Ferrara, Frances Vilk, Kerri Cetin, Miranda kass, Sabrina Giaquinto, and Seneca Cornelius.
“This is the third time I’ve made it to nationals of the women’s team, in the past it’s actually been held in Arizona, in the spring, which was a little bit unusual because our seasons in the fall. So we’d have our fall season, we’d qualify for nationals, and then we’d have to wait till May in order to go play our national tournament. The problem with that was that there’d be students who would graduate in December and wouldn’t be around in the spring. There’s students who academically were not eligible, there were eligible to play during our main season who would have some academic issues during the fall semester and come spring time weren’t eligible to compete so they weren’t able to go with us. This was the first year they had the national tournament during the same season we competed in, which worked out terrific in that sense,” said Cosenza.
“I’m proud the girls tennis team made it to nationals, its awesome they got to play where the US Open is,” said 24 year old Alex Wilhelm a student at the college. “I watch it on TV and always wanted to go, they must feel great that they got the opportunity to go.”
“I’ve been there [Meadow Lands at the National Tennis Center] a number of times, I’ve played there before, I’ve been there as a spectator for the US Open, but for a lot of these players it was there first experience there, they’ve only seen it on television, so I think it was really a terrific experience for them,” said Cosenza.
At the end of the Championships, the Awards Ceremony will took place on the grounds of the National Tennis Center. Even though the college didn’t win, it was still a moment they won’t soon forget playing where the US Open is held.