This fall Tate Arevalo, 18, will see his hard work, both on the court and in the classroom, come to fruition as he joins a proud list of JTCC alumni that played collegiate tennis.
After 10 years of training at JTCC, an elite junior tennis club founded in College Park in 1999, Arevalo will move to Carnegie Mellon. He hopes to contribute mainly in doubles as a freshman.
Even though he trains three hours a day and five times a week during the school year with tournaments nearly every weekend, this decision was as much about academics as it was tennis.
“[Carnegie Mellon] just had the best balance of everything,” said Arevalo, who also received offers from Boston College and William & Mary, among others. “They’re a really good Division III tennis team, like top five in the nation, and also I’m really interested in engineering and technology.”
Such a rigorous tennis schedule, combined with high-level math and science, might seem like a tough act to balance. But Arevalo believes it all went hand-in-hand, that tennis inadvertently made him a better student. The mental aspect of the game, he said, translated to other areas in life.
“It’s a great sport to physically stay in shape, but also mentally to keep your focus,” Arevalo said. “It’s helped me out in school a lot, just being able to stay disciplined and have a schedule to stick to.”
On the court he’s channeled that discipline into becoming a resilient and relentless player, true to his form no matter the situation.
“Tate makes you work for the point, and he puts you in positions that aren’t easy to get out of,” fellow JTCC player Alexis Merrill said.
To prepare for college, Arevalo has played in more Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) tournaments, often forgoing traditional United States Tennis Association (USTA) junior events in order to compete exclusively against other college-bound players. His coaches even have him competing in men’s opens.
More tournaments against tougher competition can become overwhelming for some, but Arevalo is able to stay grounded.
“Just staying relaxed and focused on your game plan – I think that’s the key,” he said. “Don’t try to change [your game], especially in a match. Change things in practice, sure, but in a match, just stick with your game. If it doesn’t work, then it wasn’t your day. But just stay with what you’re doing.”
Arevalo, a native of Virginia, is the 13th ranked junior in his home state, according to Tennis Recruiting Network. Carnegie Mellon, for its part, has the ninth ranked recruiting class for Division III schools so far in 2017.