Joan Cannon: My Pursuit of a Life-Long Dream

I have always dreamed of attending an Ivy League college and playing on its tennis team.

My entire life from age 13 onward has been focused on achieving this long-term goal. My parents and I moved to Burlington, at the start of Grade 9, so that I could train full-time at the ACE Academy. I competed in all the Selection, Provincial and National tournaments from that point on, as well as in any nearby ITF tournaments. However, I could never afford the time away from school to travel to international events, such as the Orange Bowl. Nevertheless, by Grade 10, I managed to establish myself in the top ten in Canada for my age group and began to focus more seriously on the academic prerequisites for an acceptance to an Ivy League college.

I started to attend the SAT preparation course once a week at the ACE Academy. I also began to take one online course during the academic year and another during the summer, so that I would be able to attend both of ACE’s morning and afternoon tennis training sessions. As result of these strategies, I was able to organize my time so that I could balance both my school and tennis schedules. The process was aided by my supportive parents, understanding coaches, and flexible teachers. I ensured that my parents, coaches and teachers all understood my long-term goal, so that we were all working toward the same objective.

By the end of Grade 10, I had maintained my national tennis ranking and achieved outstanding school grades. During Grade 11, I wrote the SAT I test –mandatory for admission to a U.S. university – and three separate SAT II Subject tests – required for those applying to Ivy League colleges. Fortunately, all my SAT grades were acceptable to the best Ivy League schools, so I did not have to re-write any of them. In anticipation of writing these SAT II Subject tests, I had rearranged the timing of my school courses. For example, I took Grade 11 Chemistry during Grade 10 and Grade 12 Chemistry during Grade 11, so that I could take the SAT II Chemistry test at the end of Grade 11.

In early Grade 11, I registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse and began to research the national undergraduate rankings, admission requirements, financial aid programs, and tennis teams and coaches of the various Ivy League schools. Based on this research, I narrowed my sights down to Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton. I e-mailed each of the coaches to introduce myself and indicate my interest in playing for their schools, sent my tennis video, school transcript, and tennis ranking history to them, and invited them to watch me play at tournaments in Canada. I was fortunate to motivate all these coaches to watch me compete during the summer after Grade 11. Once they had seen me play, they all invited me on official visits to their colleges during September and October of Grade 12. On these visits, I met the coaches and team members, toured the campus, stayed overnight in the dorms with a team member, met with academic counselors, and attended several classes and team practices. Each of the coaches committed to supporting my application to his/her college as a recruited athlete if I chose to apply. In exchange for this commitment, I had to agree to apply to only one school at a time. After consulting my parents, I decided to accept the Princeton coach’s invitation to attend Princeton and play on the Tigers tennis team. I chose Princeton over the other colleges because of the school’s overall atmosphere and college-town setting, my connection with the team and coaches, and Princeton’s outstanding reputation in the sciences – since I am considering environmental sciences as my undergraduate major. I sent my application to Princeton and received my most likely letter (academic acceptance for recruited athletes at Ivy League colleges) a couple of weeks later.

After four long years of commitment and hard work, it’s time simply to maintain my school grades and solidify my tennis game before I head off to college in September. Go Princeton Tigers!

A New Reality By Nicolas Pereira

This past week in the World Team Tennis ‘Bubble” I have seen the efforts to keep everyone safe while carrying on a team competition with around 60/70 players and coaches onsite. Counting organizers, officials, media, and support personnel are around 150 people trying hard to make this happen. I am very impressed by how the strict protocol has been handled and how everyone is invested in making this event a success, but The Open is a completely different scale of details.

ONcourt Interviews NGTL Co-Founder Yves Boulais

It does not matter that you get your rating playing locally or that you had spent an insidious amount of money playing the ITF junior tour tournaments. Your rating is your level of play (you get no bonus for playing more or playing far away). This allows us to break free of the ITF competitive structure potentially saving us time, money, and headache. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the logistic of our sport.

Brandon Burke (son of ACE President Doug Burke) Elected to WTA Board

As revealed in a recent news release issued by the WTA Tour – Brandon Burke has been elected to the WTA Board of Directors (to start officially in September). Oncourt got together with Brandon to delve a bit more into his background and to gain some insight into this wonderful appointment he has attained at such a young age.