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(Corrine Prost | Courtesy)

This weekend, the Chargers will face schools from three Midwest con­fer­ences at the ITA Regional in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The tour­nament is the Chargers’ first of the year, and excitement for it has been building within the team all week.

The team pre­pared for the fall kickoff with a bonding weekend, called the Blue-White Chal­lenge, where the Chargers ran­domly split up into two teams and com­peted in dif­ferent events over two days. 

The weekend included doubles and singles matches, minute-to-win-it skill games, and a scav­enger hunt around town, where the winning team earns points. The teams are also given points for a team name, theme, cos­tumes, posters, and a lip-sync battle.

This year, the blue team became the “Blue­berries,” wearing blue from head to toe and leaf hats, and the white team became the “Win-bledons,” dressing up as past Wim­bledon cham­pions like Roger Federer and John McEnroe. True to their name, the Win-bledons pulled out the W by a slim margin of 121 to 121.5. 

This week’s ITA Regional is com­posed of teams from the G-MAC, GLIAC, and GLVC. The tour­nament will include both singles and doubles matches. This format will help the team com­plete its main goals, according to senior Corinne Prost.

“The team’s main focus for these fall tour­na­ments is building unity between our team­mates, under­standing and improving our doubles teams, and strength­ening any weaker spots in our game,” she said. “The focus right now is [playing at] our per­sonal best within the team, so that when we come into the spring season we have even more con­fi­dence in our games.”

Looking toward the spring matches, head coach Nikki Wal­bright sees the tour­na­ments as a way to get back into shape.

“It’s a lot of tennis in a short time but a lot of fun,” Wal­bright said. “We hope to get a lot of really good expe­rience and enjoy the weekend. ”

To senior Julia For­mentin, indi­vidual matches like these can be a great way to see where weak­nesses lie.

“I’m con­fident going into this weekend and I’m excited to get back into matches and see where I need improvement,” she said. “Playing in the fall against some com­pet­itive players allows us to get match exposure and learn from every match we play so that we can be as pre­pared as pos­sible heading into season.”

She embraces the theme of staying pos­itive and united as a team.

“We’re all putting in a lot of effort and hard work on the court,” she said. “We all have a drive to be suc­cessful and see our team­mates be suc­cessful.”

Prost echoes the idea.

“I think the biggest strength of our team is our atti­tudes toward one another,” she said. “We have the goal to build one another up in mind, with the knowledge that in doing so we improve our­selves as well.”