Title IX is a law that creates an equal opportunity for men and women to play the same sports against their respective sexes, but the members on the Stony Brook club tennis team do not always play against the same gender.
The team is co-ed, with seven men and eight women on the same team competing together.
“My experience with the co-ed club team has been great,” Anna DeVera, first year player and secretary, said.
DeVera is one of the few girls on the team that participates in mixed (co-ed) doubles, the only event that requires both genders to be on the court competing against one another simultaneously.
“The members (on the co-ed team) get along and we are able to cooperate and function well as a team,” she added.
In almost every sport it is unnatural for men to be competing with and against women, but that is not the case for these Seawolves.
“It brings more variety and diversity in the tennis players I am able to hit with,” DeVera said. “It sort of a balances the group.”
A few of the members on the team, both boys and girls, have played mixed doubles before, but say that it is in no way comparable to what they were previously accustomed to. In college, mixed is significantly more intense.
The club tennis team has made it to the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championships for the past four seasons all the way out in Arizona, and what might be most intriguing about it all is that they do it without a coach.
“We coach ourselves, not one person is really that much better than the next, and everyone has played at higher levels,” Cherisse Shikada. club president, said.
With no coach questions are raised and one would think that some controversy is bound to spark up within the team. However, the team has strong leadership and doesn’t let the fact that they don’t have a head coach stop them from achieving.
“The members of the e-board and a few others make all of the decisions when it comes to on and off court issues,” Shikada said.
Within the club there are two teams, A and B. The teams are picked by members of the e-board and a few veteran players at tryouts in the fall. The A team usually has the slight advantage and this year at the Eastern sectionals qualifying tournament it showed. The team finished third after sweating out a come-from-behind victory over their rivals at Columbia University.
“As long as one of our teams makes it to nationals we can mix and match players on both teams so we can bring out (to Arizona) the strongest team we have,” Shikada said.
With the National Championships coming up in early April the boys and girls look to keep doing what they’ve been doing and that’s winning.
“We have a chance to do pretty well, anything higher than last year’s finish, 46, and we’ll be happy,” Shikada said.