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.”