Boxer Tennis players, senior Michael Okada, juniors Eric Furuya, Spencer Hing, Hector Alceyde, and freshman Alen Suklje competed in the John and Phil’s Toyota Corvallis Championship Jan. 14 and 15.
Only this tournament was different from the ones that these five players are accustomed to when playing on behalf of Pacific.
The shuttle the players rode on was actually Suklje’s personal van instead of a bus usually provided by the school. The players had to pay to compete and find and pay for their hotel as well where both would have been free had it been a school or team-sponsored event.
Although it is not yet even pre-season for the tennis team, the trip to Corvallis was still worth it for these tennis players.
“We did it to get better and to test ourselves,” said Furuya. “In season, we only play college tennis players who play for the schools in our conference. In this tournament there was a range of players from high school to professional players.”
In the tournament Hing won against Furuya, to move on to the men’s open singles quarterfinal, where he ended his winning streak. Furuya finished in the round of 16. Suklje finished in the round of 32. Alceyde and Okada both finished in the round of 64.
All five of them competed unaffiliated from Pacific by entering as independent participants, but sported Pacific Tennis gear throughout the tournament.
Pacific University was not allowed to sponsor the event, team or players because the season has not started. Coach Dr. Brian Jackson also was not allowed to attend the event.
“It is important for us to play in off season because this is how we gain respect,” said Furuya. “Especially at tournaments like this one.”
Furuya said that the extra practice they got in the tournament has helped the five players and the rest of the Pacific Boxers.
The Pacific Men’s Tennis team has not officially started their practices yet, which means that Jackson cannot offer instruction or coaching points until their season starts. The pre-season starts in February.