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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

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Student section makes noise at tennis matches


TCU’s tennis teams have seen a rise in student attendance and involvement this season.

A new Big 12 rule allows fans to make noise during points of conference matches.

TCU sophomore Ryan Dykstra and Jordan Sheppard took advantage of the new rule and formed a student section called “Purple Reign,” specifically for tennis matches.

Dykstra said his fraternity brother, sophomore Brett Tenhoff, chose the name.

Dykstra started the group after men’s tennis head coach David Roditi noticed Dykstra attended every match the previous season.

My roommates are on the tennis team,” Dykstra said. “And Coach Roditi really wanted a student section this year. So we set up a meeting and established Purple Reign for the season.”

Dykstra said he invited people he knew, specifically members of his fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, to grow Purple Reign. Coming from a tennis background, co-founder Sheppard immediately got involved.

Purple Reign hosted tailgates before tennis matches this season. Roditi provided the student section with pizza and soda for each tailgate, giving students another reason to come support TCU tennis.

Sheppard said he was not surprised by the immediate support he and Dykstra received from students.

“It’s a testament to what TCU is about,” Sheppard said. “TCU students are there to support each other at all times. I think any outlet where they can do that and it fits in their schedule, I think they’re more than willing to sacrifice and get behind TCU teams. I think the Frog family is really strong in that aspect.”

TCU students involved with the group created a rowdy home environment for visiting Big 12 teams. The TCU men’s tennis team was 13-0 at home this season, and the women’s team was 9-1.

Freshman tennis player Guillermo Nuñez said the rule is great for fans, but he had some trouble playing on the road when the crowd was against him.

“For the players, it’s not a good rule for us,” Nuñez said. “For the fans, it makes coming to matches more attractive. When we are playing at TCU, we feel the support.”

Nuñez said he knew TCU had great fan support, but did not expect the crowd to be as full of students as it has been.

Nuñez said playing on the road and dealing with energized crowds will make the team stronger mentally because of having to deal with this new element.

Dykstra and Sheppard said they want to increase the size of the group for next season.

“It’s something you have to experience once and it’ll lead you to keep coming back,” Sheppard said. “People I talk to come and they have a blast. They didn’t realize they could cheer at the top of their lungs, and once they do it once, they keep coming back.”

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