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Purdue’s Rink, Cornell’s Big Red Honored

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By Nicholas J. Walz

At the recently completed 2015 Tennis On Campus National Championship in Cary, N.C., one standout captain – Purdue’s Jessica Rink – and another standout team – Cornell University – joined the newly crowned champion UC Berkeley Golden Bears on center court to receive some exclusive TOC hardware for their efforts during the 2014-15 season.

Rink, a senior for the Bolilermakers, led her team into the Silver bracket after a tough loss to the Florida Gators in what was her third Nationals as the team’s president. The first female recipient of the USTA Tennis On Campus National Leader of the Year Award, the honor is presented annually to the college student who has made significant contributions to the USTA’s Tennis On Campus program in a manner that benefits the well-being of his or her fellow students and the surrounding community.

“Tennis On Campus has been such an important part of my college experience,” said Rink. “Winning the National Leader of the Year is such an honor. I know that it wouldn’t have been possible without the positive support and cooperation of my entire team.”

Cornell would win the aforementioned Silver bracket at the Cary Tennis Park on Saturday, beating UC Santa Barbara, 27-19. The Big Red, from Ithaca, N.Y., received an automatic bid to Nationals by virtue of being the USTA Tennis On Campus National Club of the Year. This award is presented annually to the college or university club tennis team that has achieved a level of sustained excellence while also demonstrating a commitment to giving back to its local community.

The members of the Cornell University club tennis team have built a robust community service program around Ithaca. The club’s biggest outreach is its annual “Tennis Carnival” held at the Reis Tennis Center on campus, where team members promote the sport of tennis on all levels, from youth tennis to collegiate varsity programs.

“We recognize that our program means more than hitting forehands and backhands on a court,” Club Co-President Nate Jacobson said. “It’s also our responsibility to spread our passion for tennis across the campus.”

“The whole team believes that this recognition is the highest honor our club could receive,” said Hannah Stahl, the club’s co-president. “It feels amazing to have won the award, but we are aware of the responsibilities that come with it. We look forward to holding ourselves to that standard.”

For more coverage of the 2015 Tennis On Campus National Championship, click here.