Men's Tennis powered by four seniors
Jan. 22, 2013
Gaby Moran, Texas Media Relations
As the Texas Men’s Tennis program launches into its spring campaign, four UT seniors feel like they are playing for more than the pride of the Burnt Orange.
“Playing for Texas is great, but it is fun to play for people who are your best friends. Playing with your best friends for the past three or four years has been the really cool part,” Chris Camillone said.
Seniors Camillone, Ben Chen, Alex Hilliard and Daniel Whitehead come from all corners of Texas. Now, it’s a rarity in NCAA tennis for an entire class to come from the state of the school, and this turned out to be a blessing for the Longhorns, as the foursome already was acquainted before stepping foot on the Forty Acres.
“We all had played each other at least a dozen times before coming here,” Whitehead said.
While the four Texans knew each other, what drew them to play for Texas was the program and how close all the teammates are.
“My coach played on the team, and he gave me some insight on how close the team was. The closeness of the team and being from Austin helped make the decision easy for me” Camillone said.
Already knowing each other as rivals, the four became comfortable being on the same team rather quickly.
“They have grown up playing against each other so I think it has been really positive for them,” head coach Michael Center said.
The past three seasons have been memorable for these seniors with winning big individual and team victories and supporting each other through the tough losses.
“They are four guys that have all contributed in different ways,” Center said. “They have all played, they have all won big matches, they have all gotten better, and they are all going to graduate. They have all been great kids.”
In their final season, the four seniors want to leave the program where they found it as freshmen..
“We want to be Big 12 champions and make it to the round of 16 because when we came in as freshmen that is where the team was,” Whitehead said. “So we would like to finish on that note and preferably further in the tournament.”
Said Camillone: “We just want to go out feeling like we finished strong.”
UT competes next in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Lexington, Ky.. A victory would qualify the Longhorns for the ITA National Indoor Championship before the full outdoor season begins.
“Sometimes as a senior, you take that role on with a lot of fortitude and commitment. I see this group really being committed to this team and program to finish off their careers,” Center said.