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Spotlight On: Florida State University

Florida State University for Spotlight 
Here at Tennis On Campus we LOVE to shine the spotlight on YOU!  We recently sat down with Samantha Roy, President of the Florida State University Club Team, who has spent the summer working in Flushing for USTA Player Development.  Here's what she had to say:

Q:  What have you guys been up to during your summer break? And how are you preparing for the upcoming season? 

A:  Almost all of us have been trying to get out onto the court to practice and stay in shape, while not dying in the crazy heat that is Florida in the summer. At least 5 of our players are also coaching kids at different tennis camps.

Q: What is your team looking forward to most this season?  What are a few of your big goals?

A:  Our biggest goal is to make nationals. We came extremely close last year and were fortunate to only lose 2 players to graduation this year.

The other big goal is keeping the team atmosphere of being a family.  Outside of tournaments we spend endless nights studying at the library together, have family dinners on the weekend when there is a large break in between tournaments, and just hanging out with each other. I know that if I needed someone I would have my team there for me in a second.

Q: How does your team unwind after a day of matches?

A:  A good classic is Olive Garden since they are able to easily accommodate a group of 20+ people on a short notice. If we get lucky and finish our matches early on Saturday we love to go hang out in the pool or hot tub that the hotel has. For the Florida Gulf Coast University tournament we actually had a barbeque pool party after our long day of matches in the Fort Myers heat.

FSU Spotlight BeachQ: How does your team exhibit school spirit?

A:  Florida State University already has a lot of school spirit so it translates easily over to tennis club. It is a very common occurrence to hear a string of “go noles!” cheers. If we have multiple matches going on near each other we like to scream that to pump each other up.

We have a very close relationship with the men’s and women’s varsity teams because our advisor is the director of tennis. On weekends that we don’t have tournaments a lot of us will go out and cheer for the teams at the matches.

Q:  How do you recruit new players?  What tips do you have to offer players new to TOC?

A:  With our school being over 40,000 undergraduate students it’s hard to reach all of the potential TOC players. Word of mouth is the best - talking to the players from back home, different high school coaches, and so on.  The way we reach the most students is by having a booth at the involvement fair during the first week that gets packed with all of the new students.

Q: How does your team give back to the local community?

A:  As a sport club, we participate in different philanthropies around campus that are put on by other organizations. A recent, first-time event that we are excited to continue is a 30-Love event for tennis players with disabilities.  We assisted the Special Olympics Florida chapter and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity with hosting a clinic for kids with disabilities to experience the fun and excitement of tennis.

Q: Are there any newsworthy, remarkable or unusual stories about your team or any of the players?

Interestingly enough, we have 1 ½ sets of twins on our team.  There are Laura and Rebecca Hedrick, blonde twins that play doubles together. I can remember the first tournament they played together they were perfectly matching expect one had a braid and the other had a ponytail. It confused their opponents quite a bit since one is a lefty and the other is a righty.   The Dempsey twins (Erica & Laura) are shared by FSU and FGCU, so our two clubs have become very close - hanging out during tournament weekends together and cheering each other on (when we are playing each other that is).

Q: Did any members of your team play on the same high school tennis team or play against each other?

A:  Laura and Rebecca Hedrick played doubles on their High School Team and were their school was the major rivals of the High School that Doug Small, our Vice President, attended.

Along with Erica and Laura Dempsey, Ansley Rice was also a member of the high school team.

Doug and Trevor who are now the top “bromance” to come out of the club had played the same tournaments since they were 10 but had never spoken to each other until the first practice.

One of the past presidents who is now in graduate school at FSU, Cody Paulsen, had known Samantha Evans for most of their lives due to the fact that Sammy’s dad was Cody’s tennis coach. The current treasurer, David Klein, also went to the same high school as Cody and Sammy.

Q:  Please share a funny and / or inspirational story about your team or one of its members

A:  Two years ago at sectionals we had almost run out of money so we had to stay at a less than nice hotel. University of Florida ended up being at the same hotel to save money for their trip to nationals. So unfortunately for the players who had rooms of the first floor they weren’t able to get too much sleep on Friday night because of two raccoons. These two raccoons decide to recreate a scene from Rocky and fight. This fight went on for a couple hours next to the pool. The larger raccoon was trying to push the smaller one into the pool while the smaller one kept trying to bite the larger one. Needless to say the gossip at the tournament the next morning was very entertaining.

Q:  Anything else you'd like to add?

A:   
Whave the most amazing parents. A lot of our players had done USTA tournaments in the past so the parents had gotten used to going to tournaments and such. When these parents are available they travel to some of the tournaments with home cooked goodies and dogs in tow. 

Having the parents around really gives us a sense of knowing each other outside of the college world. I personally love seeing the parents since my own parents are over 1000 miles away in New Jersey.  Luckily, our parents understand that Tennis On Campus isn’t as intense as other USTA tournaments, so they come, relax, and hang out with players from all the teams.

FSU Spotlight Court
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