First students hope to find a place on campus and form a tight-knit community, and for many Grinnellians this community is rooted in their athletic teams. The S&B’s Ian Malone ’18 sat down with Zach Lane ’19 to discuss his academic and athletic transition to Grinnell from the Miami area.
How long have you been playing tennis and why have you stuck with it?
I’ve been playing tennis for about 11 years, ever since I was six. I played quite a lot of sports when I was young, and one day I was walking in a park and saw some guys playing tennis and figured I would give it a try, and I’ve liked it ever since.
Have you found playing in Iowa to be any different from playing in Florida?
First of all, I’ve never played on indoor courts and since it’s Iowa, it snows for a good amount of time and you have to play on indoor courts. On the indoor courts, the ball moves a lot slower and you can really hit through the ball more.
Do you have any specific goals for this season?
I’m hoping to go to the [Intercollegiate Tennis Associations Midwest Regional] which is on Oct. 2. It’s where you can showcase how good you are because you’re playing against a bunch of other people from a bunch of other schools.
In your time here, have you noticed a divide between athletes and non-athletes on campus?
I feel like it depends on who your first-year friends are. If you happen to make really good friends [outside athletics] right out of the gate then you might be more inclined to hang out with them. If you haven’t necessarily done that, you might be more inclined to hang out with your sports team.
On that same note, do you see the culture of the tennis team as unique from the rest of athletics or do you see athletic culture as more homogenous?
I personally see it as more homogenous but that’s not to say that our culture is secluded. For example, when I’m going to lunch, members of the swim team or golf team will come by and sit down. I don’t think there’s as much of a divide as some think there is.
Coming to Grinnell, how have you found your balance between athletics and academics?
The academics are a lot more challenging than in high school, but you also have a lot more time to do it. So far I’ve found the balance to be fine and definitely manageable. We aren’t technically in season yet and only have three practices a week, but I still think that I’ll be able to find time for school and tennis.
Do you have any predictions for your upcoming season?
I know we won the Midwest Conference last year and have a good stretch of winning. I think we’re definitely going to repeat that this year with a lot of good first-years coming in that are going to make up for the gap of all the seniors who left last year, including three or four of our top six.
Finally, do you have any U.S. Open predictions?
I think that on the men’s side, [Roger] Federer is going to beat [Novak] Djokovic in the final, and Serena Williams is going to win on the women’s side for sure.