After earning two national championship rings with the University of Southern California Trojans, junior JT Sundling found himself on the TCU tennis team this spring.
After living his entire life in southern California and spending two years at USC, Sundling said he was ready for a change.
“I didn’t really look outside of California originally when looking for schools,” Sundling said. “A lot of schools actually asked me to come take visits, and I did, but I kind of did it half-heartedly.”
Sundling found his way out through a former mentor — men’s tennis head coach David Roditi, who he trained with during his younger years. Roditi said another reason Sundling came to TCU was that he wanted to be “a bigger fish in a smaller pond.” Sundling chose to attend TCU over Boise State and Michigan.
Sundling said he enjoyed Texas and that it had a lot of similarities to California weather-wise.
Size was the biggest difference in the two campuses. Sundling said he appreciated the individual attention that was possible at a school the size of TCU.
Sundling’s sister is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington, and she helped him adjust to life in Texas, he said.
After an eight-week voting process, the team chose its own captains. Sundling was one of the players elected, and Roditi said he was not surprised.
“He’s very level-headed, very well liked,” Roditi said. “He’s a good player; he’s one of our older players. So I wasn’t surprised that he was picked to be the leader, and he’s doing an unbelievable job.”
Sundling’s teammates also have taken notice. Freshman Nick Chappell said that although Sundling was a quiet individual, when he had something to say, the team took notice. Chappell said Sundling’s championship rings gave him respectable credibility. Coming off successful seasons with the Trojans, Sundling said he did not feel any pressure with the new season.
“I just look at it as a great opportunity,” he said. “To get to come here and play with Roditi and all these guys and getting another shot to prove myself, I don’t think it carries any extra pressure.”