The Lorian takes a look at one of the tennis team’s key players on and off the new courts
Jason Derby is a senior this year at Loras College. He is a member of the Loras Men’s Tennis team, and is looked upon highly by his whole team. Derby has been known to be a star player on the courts, winning nearly every match he has competed in throughout his many season on the team. Not only does he perform well on the courts, but off them as well. Making Dean’s List every single semester, Derby is looking forward to sharing his plethora of knowledge with other students after graduation.
What does it mean to be a “redshirt senior?”
It’s not like redshirt senior at big Division 1 schools, where they intentionally sit a player for a year to allow them to develop and become a better player. This was very much accidental. I had no intention of playing college tennis (as I hadn’t even gone to a high school that had tennis), so I just didn’t play tennis my first year. It happened to work out that I eventually found tennis and was able to tack on the extra year at the end.
How long have you been involved in tennis?
I played tennis since I was pretty little. I wasn’t ever trying to go pro or anything, but I definitely played all through grade school. I stopped playing when high school started because I wanted to focus on basketball and my high school didn’t have tennis as a sport. So I didn’t play tennis for about six years, and then really took it up again my junior year of college.
How do you feel your final season is going so far?
I think it’s going really well. We have a lot of experience on the team (we graduated nobody), and it has shown. We’ve played the strongest schedule of the three years I’ve really been a part of the program, but still have our best record of those three years. There is plenty of improvement happening at practice, and we’re doing what we need to do so far in the conference season to put us into the IIAC Tournament.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I actually plan to teach high school. I am a Biochemistry major, so I have kind of done a 180 from the idea of going to medical school or something similar. I eventually want to be a school principal, but am looking forward to learning (and teaching) a whole lot in the classroom first.
Do you have any favorite memories or matches that you remember from your years here with the Loras Tennis team?
Last year against UD also stands out with it being the match that decided the final spot in the conference tournament (Loras won 5-4, with a doubles match going to a tiebreaker before Loras won). There have been three or four comebacks after being down match point – those are always fun to have. And of course the spring break trips have been awesome all three years. Getting to play at some of the best facilities in the country in warm weather with both the men’s and women’s teams is always a blast.