The History of Women's Tennis

In 1973, under head coach Helen Masson, the women’s tennis team recorded the first of back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Ohio Association of Intercollegiate Sports for Women’s (OAISW) state tournament. Leslie Croyder ’80, Julie Jordan ’80, and Arden Kragalott ’81 swept the No. 1-3 singles titles in 1979 at the OAISW state tennis championship tournament. The trio went on to the Midwest Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (MAIAW) tennis tournament, where Croyder reached the semifinals and Jordan and Kragalott each finished as runner-up, giving Ohio Wesleyan a seventh-place finish in the 16-team tournament.

The women’s tennis team recorded its third OAISW state tournament runner-up finish in 1980. In that same year, Ohio Wesleyan finished seventh in the MAIAW regional tournament for the second straight season. Michelle Fox ’83 won the No. 4 singles title at the regional tournament and represented the Bishops at the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national tournament, where she finished seventh.

Kristen Sherrill ’96 and Shelly Smart ’96 became Ohio Wesleyan’s first All-Americans in women’s tennis in 1996. Sherrill advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division III singles tournament, while the duo moved into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III doubles tournament. In 2004, Kelly Glassburn ’06 was selected to compete in the NCAA Division III women’s tennis singles tournament, the Bishops’ first representative since 1996. She also won Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America honors and was named North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Ohio Wesleyan finished second in the final NCAC standings, the Bishops’ best finish since 1995.

Tom Drabczyk Jr. became the head coach of men and women’s tennis teams in 2013. In his first season at Ohio Wesleyan, the Battling Bishop men’s and women’s teams each finished in a seventh-place tie in the NCAC standings.

The Battling Bishop men’s and women’s tennis teams play their home matches at the Luttinger Family Tennis Center, located on South Henry Street on the southeastern corner of campus. The Luttinger Family Tennis Center hosted its first competition on Sept. 17, 2011, when the men’s team hosted John Carroll. The facility includes seating for nearly 500 spectators.

The Luttinger Family Tennis Center consists of six new courts on the east side of Henry Street, along with six courts on the west side of Henry Street. The new courts were constructed with a DecoTurf surface as used at the U.S. Open and the last two Olympic games, and the existing courts were refurbished with the same DecoTurf surface.

From 1969 to 2011, the Bishops played their home matches at the OWU Tennis Centre, a complex of 12 courts that played host to the 1978 NCAA Division III men’s championship tournament as well as North Coast Athletic Conference championship tournaments for both men and women. Six of those courts live on as part of the Luttinger Family Tennis Center. From 1929 through 1968, the Bishops played their home matches at the Selby courts, located directly south of Selby Field. Those courts were converted into a parking lot after the opening of the OWU Tennis Centre.

When inclement weather forces play indoors, matches are held inside spacious Gordon Field House, nestled in the middle of the Ohio Wesleyan academic campus. The field house’s 200-meter track encircles four tennis courts. Gordon Field House was named in recognition of the gift of Richard Gordon ’62, a standout tennis player for the Battling Bishops.

Women’s Tennis