LAKE NONA, FL – In what was the 22nd edition of the USTA Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis National Championships, teams and players from across the country continued to showcase the growth and talent level of wheelchair tennis at the collegiate level, competing in four days of fierce competition from the USTA National Campus.
From the singles competition, Alabama’s Thomas Venos continued his dominance at this event, winning the singles ‘A’ draw to claim his third-straight USTA Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis Singles National Championship.
Venos, who represents Canada on the national level, currently ranks No. 66 in the ITF singles rankings and blew through the competition this past weekend, only dropping five games across three singles matches against the toughest competitors in the field.
Across the singles ‘B’ draw, it was Houston’s Nicholas Tijerina who came out victorious. In arguably one of the closest matches of the weekend, Tijerina fought back from a first set deficit to Auburn’s Evan Heller, winning the second set and the third set tiebreaker to claim the title.
For Tijerina, this championship marked a key milestone in career, having just picked up the sport a little over a year ago this breakthrough result was clearly an emotional moment for the graduate student as lots of hard work and dedication led to this championship moment.
Finally, from the singles ‘C’ draw, Virginia’s Jacob Wald prevailed across the thirteen-player field to claim the individual national title. Wald finished 4-0 over the competition and did not drop a single set en route to his championship.
These players were all a part of the 30-player singles field which is just two less than the record-setting player field at last year’s championship. A total of ten teams were also represented at this year’s championship as the sport continues to expand across the country.
In addition to the singles play at the Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis National Championships, schools also took part in team competition which saw a more traditional dual-match format of one doubles match and two singles matches to determine the winner.
The top four finishers in 2023 included Alabama, Auburn, Boise State, and San Diego State who all fought through the field of teams for a top-four finish in the team competition.
New to this season, an overall national champion was not crowned this past weekend, as the final is set to be played in May at the USTA National Campus in conjunction with the NCAA Division I, II, and, III National Championships.
Two of these top four teams will be selected to return in May to compete in this unique and groundbreaking experience for collegiate wheelchair tennis on the biggest of stages in our sport. Stay tuned to the ITA on social media and online as more information becomes available about this National Wheelchair Championship final.