More than 100 high school student-athletes from across the USTA Eastern region showed off their talent and learned about a wide range of opportunities to play collegiate tennis on Nov. 11 at USTA Eastern’s 26th Annual College Showcase Day. The event, which was held at Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco, N.Y., featured more than 60 college tennis coaches, including Eric Butorac, a doubles specialist who has won 13 pro titles and serves as an assistant coach for the Harvard University Men’s tennis team.
Butorac, who last month teamed up with Philip Petzschner to defeat Bob & Mike Bryan at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, told students that playing tennis at a top school is not as important as getting a chance to play. Before going pro, Butorac played tennis for a year and half at Ball State University, a Division I school, before transferring to Gustavus Adolphus College, a Division III school, where his game flourished with the attention of the coach.
“There’s plenty of ways a good coach and a good program can push you to get better, plus you’ll benefit so much from playing the top players at all these other schools,” Butorac said. “You have to define the role you want to play on your team, and every time you’re on the court, hit with a purpose.”
At the event, high school juniors played matches, attended special seminars, and learned about college tennis programs from across the Northeast. High school seniors also attended a seminar, played in a round-robin tournament, and met with college coaches.
During the seminars, the students heard from Charlie Adams, an author, sportscaster, and speaker with NCSA Athletic Recruiting, the leading collegiate recruiting source for more than 500,000 student-athletes and 42,000 college coaches across the country. Adams stressed the importance of being proactive throughout the college recruiting process.
“Market your abilities. Get your name out there. Develop a good video and let the coaches know why you want to go their particular school,” said Adams. “Then you’ll have more success in recruiting.”
All of the coaches who attended the event will receive profiles of the students with information on their athletic experience, their academic records and interests, and their contact information. Jackson Claudio, a senior at Montclair High School in Montclair, N.J., said he hoped the coaches noticed his strong footwork.
“My speed’s my biggest asset,” said 18-year-old Claudio. “I want them to see that I can get to any ball and that I’m going to put in 100 percent effort every time.”
New York City’s own Sara Heath, a junior at the Trevor Day School said the College Showcase was “a great event, getting to play tiebreakers with people you never played before was very fun.”
Northport’s Katie Brandow and Alexa Goldberg of Scarsdale, NY both agreed, “It is a great opportunity to get your name out there, getting on court in front of these coaches is great exposure.”
Paulina Tafler of Oceanside agreed, "I was a little nervous until I started to practice, it’s great to see all the schools and meet new people.”
Credit all photos to Adam Wolfthal & David Novich