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Eldridge steps into leadership role
By Derek Neice

This past spring was another solid season for the tennis programs at Calvin. For the men, there was new leadership this year as senior Roland Eldridge took the court as one of the top veteran players on a very young roster.

In addition to taking on a leadership role this spring, Eldridge also excelled both on the court and in the classroom.

After breaking into the playing lineup last year as a junior, going 8-11 in No. 1 singles play, Eldridge remained at the top playing either one or two seeded singles matches and posting another 8-11 record, helping lead Calvin to a 5-1 finish in the MIAA and a 16-8 record overall.

“It’s been a unique year,” Eldridge said of this past season. “It was challenging at first, but I think it’s been really good to give the underclassmen chances to be leaders themselves on the team.”

Fellow senior Andrew DeVlieger also shared duties against the top seeds with Eldridge, and Eldridge said that the two of them found a good balance of trying to be leaders to the younger players while also successfully shouldering the responsibility of taking on other schools’ top seeds.

“After the past years of being in the bottom of the lineup or not in the lineup at all, this year especially we have found our confidence in playing well up there [top seeds],” he said.

For his efforts, Eldridge was named to the All- MIAA second team. He also was the recipient of the Allen B. Stowe Memorial Award, the league’s top sportsmanship award.

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Eldridge came to Calvin because of the combination of faith, academics and athletics. He said that tennis wasn’t the main reason why he chose to become a Knight, but that it definitely was a great added experience to his collegiate resume.

“There were a handful of other schools I could’ve played tennis at,” he said, “but Calvin seemed like the best environment for me.”

A two-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, Eldridge graduated this spring with a double major in economics and philosophy with plans to pursue anything from science to entertainment.

“I’m also applying for some business consulting jobs at banks and consulting firms, but I might get involved with my dad’s business back home, which is a media production business,” he said.

Another facet of Eldridge’s time at Calvin that shaped his worldview is a semester he spent in Ghana this past fall. Studying in a new place and also having the opportunity to continue to play tennis while in Ghana were highlights for Eldridge during his time in Africa.

“A lot of athletes think that they can’t study abroad because it will hurt their season or athletic career, but for me it was really good experience and I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” Eldridge said.“And as far as tennis goes, I had some strong players at the school I was at to train with.

“So there was some decent competition there to keep me in shape, and when I came back I wasn’t far behind at all,” he concluded.

With all of these experiences to draw on, Eldridge is looking forward to the next stage of life. He hopes to continue playing tennis upon his return to his hometown Charlotte.