On Sept. 22 the Florida Southern College Campus Showdown Tennis Tournament kicked off at the Wynee Warden Tennis Center. The event invited tennis players from the local community, both professional and amateur, to come and play on the new courts.
Trish Riddell, head women’s tennis coach and the event’s organizer, said that the event was the “first competitive event” on the new courts.
“I want to use it…to try and promote our new facility,” Riddell said, “since it’s such an amazing place and I want to get all the community involved with it as well as the college, all the students, faculty, staff, and have them enjoy it and not just be for the tennis team.”
The new tennis center officially opened about a week earlier. The new courts were built over the summer and were unveiled to students when the school year began.
Thus far the courts have only been open to members of the tennis team. Riddell said that there are plans to allow FSC students access in the upcoming weeks. However, the tournament was the first time that anyone not on the tennis team could use the courts. For the tournament, players of all ages and experience levels were invited to play.
Players registered at 8 a.m., paying $10 for singles and doubles. The tournament was done in a compass draw style, meaning that while winners and losers went their separate ways after each match, everyone continued to play.
“The goal is more fun than the competition,” Riddell said.
Some FSC students took advantage of the tournament, including Christie Nunnemann, a sophomore business major. As a member of the tennis team, Nunnemann said she came to the tournament in search of “more competition” and one other thing.
“I just wanted to have fun this weekend,” Nunnemann said.
Even members of the FSC faculty got in on the event. Dr. R. Bruce Anderson, associate professor of political science at Florida Southern College, played in the tournament.
“I love it,” Anderson said. “You’ve got all kinds of different levels, all different age groups. You know, it’s just like a big compass draw where they throw everybody in.”
Other competitors came from further away and were unaffiliated with the college. Dylan Nguien is a student at Santa Fe Catholic High School who is considering attending FSC.
“First match I did pretty well,” Nguien said.
“He killed me in the first match,” Anderson said.
Paula Garcia who attended Brown College, attended the event to get in some extra practice time.
“Every time you can get in practice matches it’s good for tennis since it’s what I do,” Garcia said, “and I’m trying to play for school.”
Regardless of where they were from or their motivations, competitors played several games with people of varying skill sets. Although the event is the first of its kind at FSC, Riddell hopes that it will not be the last.
“It’s certainly something I want to do on an annual basis,” Riddell said.