By Jacinta Chen ’21
I held my breath as I logged into my portal and opened up the admissions committee’s decision in February of 2017. A flurry of confetti filled my phone screen. I was ecstatic that I was going to be a member of the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis Team starting that fall.
My first year at Pomona whizzed past and like every other student at Pomona, I’ve been able to learn from the best professors, engage in clubs, and enjoy time with friends. However, I cannot imagine what my experience here would be like without the 10 to 20-hour weeks of tennis with my amazing team. The Pomona student-athlete life has been challenging, yet rewarding in so many ways. With that being said, I grew so much after one year and would not trade my experience here for any other out there.
To prospective Pomona-Pitzer student-athletes, I would love to share some key things to keep in mind as you meet coaches, embark on official visits with various teams, and conduct your college search. So, here are five reasons why I love being a Pomona-Pitzer Sagehen.
1. Extremely Supportive Professors
As both a member of a highly competitive team with a demanding training and competition schedule and as a student at an academically rigorous institution like Pomona, it’s easy to be concerned about not having enough support from professors. However, by staying on top of my classes and maintaining consistent communication with my professors, I’ve been astounded by the encouragement and assistance that they’ve provided me. Whenever I’ve had to miss a class for a competition, my professors have been more than willing to help me catch up on the missed class discussion and concepts during office hours or another appointment that would work with my match and practice schedule. During heavier weeks that have been filled with a plethora of assignments and assessments, as well as multiple away matches, my professors have been willing to grant me extensions and answer questions via email. At office hours, my professors always ask me how the season is going, what we are working on in practice, and if there are any upcoming matches that they might be able to attend. From my own experience, I can say that Pomona professors are extremely dedicated to helping their students learn and excel in their academic and athletic pursuits.
2. Incredibly Inspiring Teammates and Coaches
Though I cannot speak for the experience on every Pomona-Pitzer team, I can say that the Sagehen athletes I have encountered have unrelenting dedication to their academics and respective sports. In practices, I am constantly motivated by my teammates’ encouragement and commitment to work hard and improve collectively. Not only have I had the chance to train with and play alongside all-Americans, but I am also in awe of my teammates’ fantastic research and work experiences. We push each other to grow as tennis players, but also as people. I feel so fortunate to have coaches who are committed to my improvement as a tennis player and my development as a person.
3. A Unique Rivalry with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Within the Claremont Consortium, we have a really fun, yet intense Sixth Street Rivalry. Pomona and Pitzer students join together to compete against Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Scripps students. Having students from both schools on our team has made the Pomona-Pitzer experience really special. Training right down the road from our CMS rivals has really helped us thrive and create an extremely strong level of competition over the years.
4. Contention for Conference and National Championships
As competitors in the SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference), we are almost always contending for conference and national championships. On the whole, our sports teams are extremely competitive with other top Division III programs. There are very few teams in Division III who can match the Sagehen experience and reach equally high levels of competition. During my first year, my team finished as the runner-up in the ITA Division III National Women’s Team Indoor Championship, runner-up in the SCIAC Conference, and reached the NCAA West Regional Final after losing in a close match to the eventual champions. The P-P tennis team has been ranked in the top-10 for many years. Between now and the upcoming spring season, we will continue to work hard and improve mentally and physically. We are so excited to challenge some of the best teams starting February 2019 and show them what Sagehen tennis is all about!
5. Lifelong Friendships and Mentors
Between training, competing, icing, eating, studying, and just hanging out, members of Pomona-Pitzer teams spend countless hours essentially every day together. We support each other through our matches and push each other in practice, while also helping one another off the court. Through it all, I’ve gained friendships with my teammates that I will cherish for many years. We truly get each other through the ups and downs that come with being a student-athlete and I could not be more thankful for the family they’ve given me here.