Jack Ventura-Cruess ’16 is anxious to show Earlham fans just how good the men’s tennis team is.
Last season, his skills helped take the team to its third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. Members hope to return again this season. In the likeness of Wimbledon, the team hosts Denison College for a Gentlemen’s Dual match during an event called “Earlhambledon” on the Earlham Tennis Courts adjacent to the Randal R. Sadler Baseball Stadium. Fans are treated to free strawberries and cream as they enjoy a competitive tennis match.
Ventura-Cruess says the team is excited about the event and hopes fans enjoy the competition, which he thrives on.
“I am a confusing character,” Ventura-Cruess says. “Opponents have never interacted with a guy on the other side of the net like me. I am willing to do the crazy stuff like dance around, make noises, stick my head in the net. Sometimes it’s out of frustration, but sometimes it’s just me expressing my joy for the game after I hit a shot. If you want to be entertained, I never disappoint.”
The strategy worked throughout high school, but some of his teammates have him wanting to be more professional in his approach to tennis.
“I see now that most of the time my antics get in the way,” he says. “I am working on cutting them out. I am out there to win as quickly, cleanly, gracefully and humbly as possible.”
The scholar-athlete, a designation given to varsity athletes with a 3.2 minimum grade point average, says he’s excited about some of the recent steps he has taken to improve his game.
“I need to be more efficient about it without all this extra flinging and flailing,” he explains. “I need to play point after point consistently and be professional about it.”
In addition to studies and tennis, Ventura-Cruess sings and beat boxes for the popular a cappella group The Brimleys and works at Lilly Library.
“You have to keep it all in proper balance,” he explains.
The California native is considering majors in philosophy or international studies.
“I like to ask a lot of questions,” he says. “Sometimes just asking brings a sense of humility that you need going through life.”