K-State club tennis helps students gain skills, friendships along the way

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The K-State club tennis team has had its most successful year ever, making its first nationals appearance in Phoenix, Arizona. (Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

College has a way of helping you step out of your comfort zone and get involved in things you have always loved, and club sports teams at Kansas State University allow students to continue being involved in a sport they loved growing up and making new connections along the way.

Matt Berneking, junior in industrial engineering, is the president of K-State’s club tennis team. Berneking said he started playing tennis in middle school, but started to take it more seriously after his freshman year in high school. Immediately after coming to K-State, Berneking joined the club team.

“[It’s] the highlight of my week,” Berneking said.

Berneking said holding the position of club president has helped him in different ways.

“Club has really helped me with managing my time and managing a big group of people,” Berneking said. “For the tennis side of it, it’s kept me active when I otherwise wouldn’t be.”

This year has been the most successful year for the team in club history. Some of the tournaments the team played in this year have been in Arizona, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. The team also made its first ever appearance at the United States Tennis Association Tennis on Campus National Championships in Phoenix, the largest trip this year for the club.

Brett White, senior in marketing and professional strategic selling, started his college career at Washburn University, where he played on the university’s tennis team. After playing there for two years, White transferred to K-State. He knew the club president at the time and played in a tournament his junior year.

“The friendships I’ve made on the club tennis team have definitely been the best part about club tennis,” White said. “Along with that, after playing college tennis, it’s been great being able to play at a high level since then.”

Amy Fugit, senior in mathematics and civil engineering, said tennis is definitely a family sport. The Andover, Kansas, native competed at Emporia State University during her time there, and she said she wasn’t ready for her tennis career to end once she came to K-State.

“The tennis club team has helped me step out of my comfort zone,” Fugit said. “I have always been very shy. Being asked to help run practices and help lead the club has forced me to grow and improve my abilities on and off the court.”

Members of the team agreed the best part about being on the club team is the people you get to meet.

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