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William and Mary earns National Club of the Year honors

2016 William and Mary team 

By Ashley Marshall

When Josh Albertson joined the College of William and Mary club tennis team, he knew the best way to help the team succeed was to bring players together. The motto, “One tribe, one family,” was quickly adopted, and as Albertson now prepares to graduate next month, he can’t be happier with the state in which he’s leaving his club.

In a nod to the close-knit group of friends and the work they do in and around their Williamsburg, Va., community, the USTA named William and Mary as the recipients on the 2016 Tennis On Campus National Club of the Year.

“It’s a big one, definitely,” Albertson said of the award during the Tennis On Campus National Championship, being held in Cary, N.C., this week. “Being named Team of the Year is a really big honor and we’re happy to be here.

“There are two components, on the court and off the court, and we try really hard to have both of those. On the court, we try to include everybody and make sure everybody is playing tennis and encouraging everybody. Off the court, we try to do all kinds of social events and marketing campaigns to make sure everybody is having a good time.”

Albertson, a Herndon, Va., native, has helped introduce a number of initiatives to the team, including squad dinners before or after practice and team Christmas shopping trips. The players also compete on intramural softball, soccer and football teams together, volunteer at the two-day Williamsburg Patriot Triathlon every year and attend everything from on-campus activity fairs to off-campus profit-share ventures to support community businesses.

The profit-shares, where the team brings fellow students to businesses such as restaurants and then takes a percentage of the money to build the club’s funds, are one way the team stays visible on campus, while raising some of the $4,000 it needs each year.

“I think it’s really important,” Albertson said of spending time together as a team. “A lot of teams can be really good on the court, but they don’t necessarily have that family aspect off the court. If you really want to get involved in Tennis On Campus, it’s important to have both aspects.”

The William and Mary team, representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic section, has between 40-50 active members, nine of whom are representing the school on the team that traveled to the Cary Tennis Park this week.

“At a national tournament, we’d like to do well,” Albertson said, “and at sectionals, it’s always our goal to qualify for nationals. But when it comes down to it, if everybody is having fun, that’s a success.”

“Our motto is ‘one tribe, one family,’” continued Albertson, a public policy and psych major. “And what that means to us is that no matter what we do, we do it together. We’re a family in every sense of the word. It’s not just a sport for us, it’s a way of life. I think the future is quite bright (for the club). A lot of our underclassmen are really involved and quite capable of making William & Mary club tennis really great. I’m totally comfortable with the way I’m leaving it.”