Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ospreys: Made in America UNF Tennis Team Bucking the System

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ospreys: Made in America UNF Tennis Team Bucking the System

Article excerpt

University of North Florida tennis coach Charley Jenks isn't insulting his men's team when he calls his players a bunch of average Americans. It's actually a bit boastful.

In a time when college tennis teams are loaded with international players, to find a team made up mostly of Americans is unusual. And to find that team competing at the NCAA Division II national championships is . . . well, almost unbelievable.

But yet that's exactly what UNF -- with its roster of eight Floridians and one Slovakian -- is doing today through Sunday in Pensacola.

"This is a major, major feat for UNF athletic achievement, including national championships that I won," said Jenks, who guided the UNF women to a national title in 1994. "This is a nothing team that had a lot of desire, a lot of motivation. I would say this might be the biggest achievement in UNF athletic history."

Flagler coach Walter Shinn, who has won seven NAIA national titles, doesn't balk at that statement.

"To be decent and have a majority of Americans, that's very, very unusual," said Shinn, whose Saints are heading to the NAIA national tournament later this month. "Our team is unusual and we have three Americans. I can't recruit all Americans and win."

That seems to be a trend throughout college tennis, especially on the Division II level. Of the eight teams that competed for national championship berths in two regional tournaments last Friday and Saturday, all but host UNF had at least four international players. The Ospreys had just one -- former Fletcher High School Slovakian exchange student Juraj Ciz.

Individually, 48 of the top 60-ranked Division II men and 51 of the top 60 women were international players. Seven-time defending champion Lander -- whom UNF would most likely face in the second round should the Ospreys get past first-round opponent Northwood (Mich. …

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