Traveling across the nation this season, the John Brown University tennis teams competed in several states, but won’t have their first home match until the beginning of April.
The official spring season for the teams started in Conway, Ark., on February 14, 2020. Recently, the teams traveled to Alexandria, La., to compete against teams other than those in their conference.
Sophomore Sydney Smith said that this trip to Louisiana was a great experience for the team, because they played against schools in different divisions than theirs. “My favorite part of the season is the tournament we just had in Louisiana,” Smith said. “We played against six teams in three days, so a lot of tennis was packed into a short amount of time. It was great getting to play against a good mix of schools,” Smith said.
Freshman Salasha McBride said that this season has been great for getting to know the tennis players and enjoying their time together. This is McBride’s first time playing tennis since the 10th grade, so she has gotten to pick up the sport again after taking a bit of a break.
“My favorite part of the season has been getting closer with the tennis team and bonding with them by just cracking jokes and sharing laughs,” McBride said. “My expectations for this season are for our team to make it to regionals and for us to just play at the best of our ability.”
Woody Woodring, sophomore player for the men’s team, explained that in college tennis, unlike tennis he played while he was younger, counts toward a team score, and JBU brings a positive environment to play in.
“Growing up playing tennis, it is always very individual, and it’s a blast to get to play in a team environment,” Woodring said. “It gives you more motivation because you aren’t just fighting for yourself: you’re fighting for your team.”
For this upcoming season, Woodring is looking forward to improving his own game and seeing where the team can end up at conference.
“As far as expectations are concerned, I know as a team we have a goal of making to the finals of our conference and hopefully winning it. That is the main goal,” Woodring said. “For me personally, the position I’m playing this year is a lot tougher than last year, so I just want to be able to knock off some guys to help the team win.”
The next match for the golden eagles will be on April 3 and 4, at the JBU tennis courts. The players would love to have the student body out to support them and cheer them on.
“JBU should know that we have a big home match on April 4 against Texas A&M Texarkana,” Smith said. “We would all really appreciate it if people came out and supported us, especially since we don’t have that many home matches.”
Photos courtesy of JBU Athletics