A howling good time with the Claremont Coyotes tennis club

With equiptment and court time provided, the Claremont Coyotes are hoping to bring casual and competitive tennis to everyone at the 5Cs. Courtesy: Charlotte Cheah PO ’23.

Growing up in the United Kingdom, Claremont Coyotes club tennis team captain Charlotte Cheah PO ’23 said that her high school did not have varsity sports in the same way most American schools do. Without varsity athletics, Cheah only ever played tennis leisurely in the summer and did not have a lot of competitive experience. 

After her first semester at Pomona College, Cheah was introduced to the club tennis team and decided to give it a try. 

“I was introduced to the club through one of my friends and I thought it was such a welcoming and fun atmosphere,” Cheah said. “The first practice I went to was such a positive experience for me that I decided to join the club and use it as an opportunity to get back into the sport.”

For Sawyer Bock PO ’26, after having grown up playing tennis competitively, he knew that he did not want to be a varsity athlete in college and instead sought to find a way to continue to play the sport he loved in a more casual manner.

“Tennis used to be something that was really stressful for me,” Bock said. “[The club team] can be really relaxed and non-stressful which is something that I really wanted. At the same time because it’s all voluntary, people actually want to play when they come to practice so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time and that’s really motivating and rewarding.”

Since its founding, the team has evolved to include both a tournament team and a more leisurely, unstructured side. While people of all skill levels are welcome to join both, Cheah explained the tournament team is a more structured entity that entails more involvement and commitment.

The team holds three practices a week, two of which are unstructured and are open for all club members and anyone who may be interested in joining. Gear and equipment is provided for those who need it. The third practice is structured and dedicated to the tournament team. Cheah said that the team only competed in one tournament in the fall, but she hopes to see this number increase in the future as schools head back to pre-pandemic norms.  

“For club tennis, there was a lot of institutional knowledge that was lost over [COVID-19], and I think a lot of schools are just now getting back into the habit of hosting tournaments,” Cheah said.

Despite the divide between the competitive and casual sides of the team, the Coyotes as a whole are dedicated to fostering a fun and welcoming environment while also providing opportunities for everyone to play.  

Alongside helping students avoid the financial investment needed for tennis by providing equipment and courts, the club supports its members by hosting beginners workshops aimed at people who have never played tennis before. The workshops, held about once a month, are led by team captains who aim to teach interested individuals the basics of tennis. 

Thomas Price PZ ’26 said that he has had nothing but positive experiences with the team. As a new member who joined the tournament team in the fall, he said that the team has been super welcoming and supportive.

“Everyone is very excited to be there and just have fun playing tennis with each other so there’s no real reason for animosities to exist,” Price said. “Everyone is incredibly supportive of each other and it’s a really positive experience for everyone … not just people who are returning to tennis, but also for those who haven’t played tennis before.”

Bock adds that he has found a new community within the team and has been introduced to some of his closest friends. 

“One of the cool things about club tennis is that it creates a network of people … I’ve met a lot of older students that I wouldn’t have otherwise overlapped with,” Bock said. 

By providing gear and equipment, hosting beginners workshops and not requiring any club dues, the club strives to make the sport accessible for all and encourages anyone who is interested to join and get a feel for the team. 

“We really strive to provide whatever you want to get out of it. It’s really just what you make of it,” Cheah said.

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