Sports

Student Earns UCF’s First National Championship for Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis

Junior Auburn Smith defeated players from the University of Alabama to win the national title.

By Nicole Dudenhoefer '17 |
April 25, 2018

Junior public administration major is the first Knight to compete in the National Championship for Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis. (Photo by Erin Maher) 

Junior public administration major is the first Knight to compete in the National Championship for Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis. (Photo by Erin Maher) 

One student served up success over the weekend by bringing home a first-time win for UCF in the National Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis Championship.

On Sunday, junior public administration major Auburn Smith completed her second victory over players from the University of Alabama to secure the national championship title in the Singles C division.

The tournament took place at the United States Tennis Association Campus in Lake Nona as 13 students from around the country competed for their universities, including those from Alabama, Michigan State and Florida. This is the first time the competition has been hosted at the facility, which is also home to UCF Tennis.

“I know how everyone here [at UCF] loves the national championship for football, so it’s really fun to bring in another and see how excited people get,” Smith says.

Smith, who was born with a spinal defect and has always used a wheelchair, began playing at 9 years old after a visit to a tennis clinic with her best friend. There, a coach in a wheelchair encouraged Smith to give tennis a shot.

 

After graduation, Smith plans to continue competing in tennis and hopes to work for USTA one day. (Photo by Erin Maher)

After graduation, Smith plans to continue competing in tennis and hopes to work for USTA one day. (Photo by Erin Maher)

“I love playing tennis because when I was younger I didn’t know how I could be active, so finding the sport has made it easier,” Smith says.

When Smith transferred to UCF last year, her personal coach Nancy Olsen connected with the university to make sure Smith could continue to stay active with her passion. The university welcomed the opportunity, as it has been working to be more inclusive of students with disabilities. Since then, she has attended practices at USTA and in the future she hopes to work at the facility as a tournament manager.

UCF’s Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation Program includes activities such as unified flag football, adaptive learn to surf trips, student assisted workouts and other intramural sports. For more information about the program and these activities, visit the Recreation and Wellness Center or contact Sport Clubs and Adaptive Recreation Coordinator Andrea Snead at andrea.snead@ucf.edu