AMHERST, Mass. -- More than 20 students from two New England NJTL (National Junior Tennis and Learning) chapters had the opportunity to experience college tennis life for a day, as they visited Amherst College for NJTL College Day. Sportsmen's Tennis and Enrichment Center in Dorchester, MA and the Urban League of Springfield, in Springfield, MA, each brought a group of prospective college students to the campus on Saturday, April 13.
The day began with a question and answer session run by Will Cummins of Amherst College Admissions and Assistant Athletic Director of Diversity & Inclusion Billy McBride. After lunch in the dining hall and a campus tour, the event concluded with a two hour clinic with the men's tennis team, currently ranked #4 in the nation and preparing for the NESCAC semifinals on Saturday.
"It was awesome to have such a great turnout for our first year hosting the NJTL College Day here at Amherst College. We are looking forward to growing the event and continuing to support the NJTL mission," said Amherst men's tennis coach Todd Doebler.
NJTL players were broken up by ability level and were given personalized coaching from team members and head coach Todd Doebler. They worked on skills, played games and formed immediate bonds with their coach.
"The most amazing thing for me to see was the bonds these players created with their Amherst coach. They became comfortable very quickly and were constantly asking questions," said Chantal Roche, USTA New England Diversity & Inclusion Manager and event organizer. "We are so grateful to the university and the team for taking the time to host our NJTL players, and we hope this experience will affect them positively when applying for college."
"For me personally, to see all the kids' first exposure to a college campus was really meaningful and moving," said Monica Herman, Community Tennis Coordinator at Sportsmen's. "On the way back, all the kids shared what they liked (everything) and what they didn't like (nothing). They all asked when we can road trip it again to another school and if they can stay overnight in a dorm next time."
USTA New England is proud to offer these types of experiences for the NJTL youth. The next NJTL Day will be at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 17.