TOC Team Spotlight: Penn State

The Penn State Tennis On Campus squad was one of four teams from Middle States to compete in Tennis On Campus National Championships last weekend. Here’s a look at a recent Q&A with the group.PSU blog image


Kate Allison – Sophomore
Taimi Ando – Junior
Gabby Beam – Freshman
Anurag Kumar – Senior
Eric Ripkin – Senior
Will Ullrich – Junior
Lauren Valdivia – Senior
Steph White – Freshman

Q: When did you discover that you had the talent to win as a team?

We had a lot of good returning starters – players who have competed many times at Sectionals and Nationals. At the beginning of our season, we knew right away during tryouts that we had some good up-and-comers who could bolster our lineup, especially on the women’s side. Our lineup reflects both youth and experience, creating what’s been a winning combination thus far in 2013-14.

Q: How does your team unwind after a day of matches?

Here at Penn State we like to unwind by partaking in team bonding activities. Obviously we all enjoy tennis, but hiking is another one of our pastimes. When we’re not out and active, we take it indoors and play Scattegories.

Q: When you qualified for Nationals, how did you celebrate?

We ate mashed potatoes. Lots and lots of mashed potatoes. They’re our team food … and our weakness.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about how your school is unique?

Penn State provides a rich tradition and culture of excellence with a new age spirit with which today’s younger generation can relate. Although Penn State is known for – and embraces – its characterization as being a “party school,” there is so much more than that when you dip into “Happy Valley.” While many teams are the Wildcats or the Bulldogs, we’re proud to be the one and only Nittany Lions.

Q: How does your team fundraise? Do you serve your local community in a meaningful way?

Most of our fundraising efforts throughout the year go toward “THON,” Penn State’s dance marathon that supports pediatric cancer treatments and research. THON is a way for students connect with the community and bring about some good vibes to State College, Pa. This year, Penn State as a whole rose over $13 million through this endeavor, and our team busted a move to help the cause.

Q: How do you exhibit school spirit?

Penn State students exhibit school spirit by starting loud chants, yelling out “We Are!” to fellow Penn Staters in crowded airports and vowing to always vehemently dislike everything associated with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Q: If you were to list three specific things that need to happen in order to win a National Championship, they would be:

Matching Nike Zoom Vapor 9 iD’s (we’re kidding… or are we?).

For more information on Tennis On Campus, or for a recap from the TOC National Championships, click here.

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