September 21, 1998
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State women's tennis team is racking up its frequent flyer miles, sending five participants to one of the most prestigious clay court tournaments of the year.
The Cougars' destination - Baltimore, Md.
The Cougars' intent - compete against college tennis' top talent.
WSU will showcase its own talent at the T. Rowe Price National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships on Sept. 22-27. This is the first year that the Cougars send more than two players to this highly-touted event. Senior Andrea Reisz (Pecs, Hungary), junior Melissa Pine (Newfoundland, Canada), and sophomores Patrycja Gajdzik (Szczecin, Poland), Erica Perkins (Seattle, Wash.) and Tamara Filipovic (Belgrade,Yugoslavia) are the five Cougar representatives.
Reisz and Gajdzik in particular bring much experience playing on clay. During the summer, both compete on the European circuit, which usually requires competition on this surface.
"You like the odds with European players," WSU coach Cari Groce said. "They play very well on clay."
Gajdzik automatically qualified for the tournament in singles, while the combination of Perkins/Reisz qualified for doubles competition. Gajdzik is currently No. 99 in the nation according to the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings. All others who made the journey must compete in pre-qualifying rounds, before the main draw on Sept. 24-27. WSU will have four singles and two doubles teams entered.
"They are ready to play," Groce said. "They look good. This is a great opportunity to improve individual rankings at a highly recognized tournament."
The Suburban Club of Baltimore County serves as the tournament site. Each year, the National Clay Courts proves to be the training ground for some of professional tennis' future stars and gives collegiate tennis players experience on a surface that is encountered frequently on the professional tours, but rarely in college tennis.