Anyone who thinks only undergraduate students play competitive sports at Michigan doesn’t know about the old timers on the club tennis team.
Four of the 40 members of the Michigan club tennis team already have college diplomas. Year after year, the team includes students who are in law school or earning their masters degrees playing side-by-side with undergraduates.
“I feel very old at tryouts,” engineering graduate student Myra Epp said. “It’s weird to think that I am a different generation.”
Epp is in the first year of her masters program but her fifth year on the club tennis team. During her four undergraduate years, she served as vice president and president of the team. This year, she is glad to be back on the court as a grad student.
“I’m in a sequential program to get my masters in one year, and it allows me to play tennis for one more year, which is great,” Epp said.
Alumni of the tight-knit club tennis program visit Ann Arbor often. They come to hang out with old teammates, and it seems like they never left.
“Some of my best friends have been on the team,” she said. “You see them come and go, but when alumni come back, we hang out like they are still part of the team.”
The team has an alumni page on its website, so old teammates can keep in touch with each other. They also keep their younger teammates still at Michigan up to date on jobs and life. Alumni post their most recent tennis accomplishments after leaving Michigan on the site, too.
“The club tennis team is my family at school,” Epp said.
The Wolverines practice twice a week and compete in weekend matches in cities such as Chicago, New York and Toronto. They try to play two to three matches per month.
Now that this year’s roster is set, the team is preparing to face Wisconsin at the Varsity Tennis Center on Sept. 28. It should be an exciting first game because over the last four years, the Badgers have been the only team to steal the Wolverines’ top regional ranking.
“Our first goal is winning regionals, because we would really like to get to Nationals on a high note,” club president David Murav said. “We have performed so well that it would be a let down if we didn’t this year. Placing in the top 10 in Nationals would be a great goal for us.”