National champion CMS women’s tennis team honored at White House

Group of female CMC tennis players and their coach stand and squat in front of a blue stage set up next to the White House for the event.

CMS women's tennis team and Coach David Schwarz pose for a photo at the White House.

Members of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s tennis team celebrated a historic gathering at the White House Monday—the first-ever College Athlete Day honoring national champions across all three divisions of the NCAA.

More than 1,000 athletes gathered on the South Lawn for the special visit, with the CMS women’s tennis team serving as one of 47 championship teams representing 19 NCAA sports.

As big of a thrill as it was to be present at the White House for a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” Sena Selby ’24 said she was especially appreciative to be reflecting on the momentous season with her teammates.

“Spring sports often get robbed of a celebration because we’re at the end of the year and a lot of us go home right away. So, to have a little reunion in the middle of the summer and be able to see everyone and enjoy this with my teammates is awesome,” Selby said.

Vice President Kamala Harris and NCAA President Charlie Baker shared remarks at the Washington, D.C. event, with Harris filling in for President Joe Biden who was forced to miss the championship gathering due to an emergency root canal.

As about 30 individual players stood behind her on stage—including CMS representative Alisha Chulani HM’25—Vice President Harris spoke about the commitment and perseverance required of college athletes. She noted how players make incredible sacrifices during the course of a long season, leading teams to bond together as a second family.

“You develop lifelong relationships. You demonstrate teamwork and character. You make the people around you better in every way,” Vice President Harris said. “You are leaders. You are role models. And of course, you are champions.”

The CMS women's tennis team won its second straight national title in May after defeating Chicago 5-3 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. Players, coaches, and members of the athletic department arrived in D.C. on Sunday night and were able to gather for both a team dinner and Monday breakfast before the big White House moment. After the event, several members planned to stay for some sightseeing together around the nation’s capital.

Erica Perkins Jasper, William B. Arce Director of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation, said it was “wild” to see the long lines of champions on the lawn, taking photos, getting to know one another, and soaking up the festive atmosphere. The majority of the CMS team hadn’t been to the White House before, so it was also a new experience for them—one that they’ll always remember.

“Our students put in such long hours, and as Vice President Harris said, these teams really become a family to one another,” Perkins Jasper said. “We’re all really appreciative of the opportunity to celebrate together at this special event. And really, it was a further reminder of just how appreciative we are to the CMC community for supporting our athletes throughout this memorable season.”

Thomas Rozwadowski

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