By: Alex Burger
To say that the McPherson College tennis players didn’t perform well this season would be a bit of an understatement. Not only did some of them make it through the season with a winning record, but some of them made it through while earning themselves a ticket to the NAIA Tennis Championships, a prestigious tournament held every year that contains some of the best tennis athletes in the nation.
In the NAIA, tennis season takes place in the spring. Springtime is when things are usually taken care of in a team format. In the fall however, tennis focuses more on the individual aspect as top tier programs participate in tournaments that are put on by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). McPherson College had four athletes make it to the tournament, two men and two women. On the men’s side, Jacob Turley and Julien Bodin will be competing in the tournament as a seed that is to be determined for doubles. Turley and Bodin’s road to the tournament was not an easy one. The week prior to this tournament they played Texas A&M Texarkana, a team that had previously beat the higher ranked McPherson doubles team in the round before. It contained a couple close matches, one being a final score of 6-2. Despite being counted as the underdogs, they overcame the stigma. That match won them the ITA Regional Championship, giving them a secured spot in the NAIA Tennis Championships.
On the women’s side, Brittany Zipf and Erika Paradise will be competing also as an unknown seed for doubles. Zipf and Paradise marched through the tournament field to win the ITA Regional Championship locking up their slot in the NAIA Tennis Championship. Zipf will be the lone bulldog that is also competing in the tourney as a singles competitor. This is Zipf’s first year making it in singles after losing multiple a hard fought battles in the Regional Championship two years in a row. Knowing that she had finally done it, Zipf described the feeling as “a surreal moment that was everything that she had been working towards.” Also, the fact the she was able to make it with her teammates made it that much better. The tournament will be held in Rome, Georgia. Tipoff for the matches are as follows: Zipf will start Thursday off facing Anais Gabriel from Keiser University at 9:00 a.m. followed by Zipf/Paradise’s match against San Diego Christian College at 1:30 p.m. To end the day at 3:30 p.m. Turley/Bodin will face Georgia Gwinnett College.