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Tennis + Calvin is right equation for Zeilstra family
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale
Amy Zeilstra
Amy Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.)

The Zeilstras have always been a tennis-playing family—from dad Van and mom Lois to sons Tom and Marcus and daughters Katie and Amy.

They have also always been a Calvin family.

That combination has been very positive for the Calvin tennis program.

“I started playing tennis in fourth grade, and I’ve been playing ever since,” said Amy Zeilstra, who will be a sophomore at Calvin this fall. “I also knew I was going to Calvin my whole life. I always wanted to play on the Calvin tennis team and go to Hilton Head for spring break.”

The same scenario was true for recently graduated Tom Zeilstra, a four-year member of the Calvin tennis team.

“I never thought about going anywhere else,” he said. “My older sister went here, and my mom and dad and about 20 other people on my mom’s side and another five on my dad’s. I heard nothing but positives about it, so there was no reason to break the cycle.”

Zeilstra’s sister Katie, who graduated in 2001, was a three-year member of the Calvin tennis team.

All of the Zeilstra siblings grew up playing tennis at SCORE Racquet Club, close to their home in Oak Brook, Ill. They then went on to play at Timothy Christian High School.

“We’ve always played doubles together as a family,” said Tom Zeilstra. “Whenever we play, it’s competitive. We’re not out to kill anyone, but nobody wants to lose either.”

As the Zeilstras have moved up to Calvin, it has been nice to have the encouragement and support of siblings, he said.

This year, Tom, a senior, played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. He was named to the All-MIAA second team each of the last two years.

“Tennis at Calvin has been a great experience for me,” said Tom Zeilstra. “I found that being on a team is great way to meet people. I have a lot of good friends from sports teams.”

Having just graduated, Zielstra is also finding that employers look positively on having sports listed on a resume.

“I think that it shows discipline, that you’re able to deal with commitment,” he said. “Those are positive qualities to have.”

Like her brother Tom, Amy Zeilstra also has had positive experiences with the tennis team. She played No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles this year as a freshman.

“The spring break trip was one of the best spring breaks I’ve ever had,” she said. “We really bonded as a team.”

Zeilstra would like to move up to the No. 1 singles spot on the women’s team next year. She plans to play a lot over the summer to improve.

The women’s team placed fifth overall in the MIAA this year; the men’s team was third.

Both Zeilstras think the teams are headed on their way up.

“We beat Hope for the first time in a long time,” said Amy. “We are on a tremendous improvement track,” added Tom. “We were a lot more competitive with [perennial powers] Kalamazoo and Hope. This year’s team was the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here.”