Toledo tennis standout Ross Wilson loves simply being able to play for his beloved Ohio State University. But now Wilson is an All-American who could soon take his place beside the Buckeye greats in all sports.
Wilson, a St. Francis de Sales graduate, and his doubles partner Scott Green were recently selected to the 2005 Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America team. Wilson and Green, who are both juniors, finished the season ranked No. 6 in the nation.
Ohio State coach Ty Tucker said the duo had the finest doubles season in the program's history.
"Ross has done great things at Ohio State. Next year he will be knocking on the door of the [Ohio State] Hall of Fame," Tucker said.
Wilson said he could never have imagined that such a lofty distinction would be a possibility when he enrolled at Ohio State in 2002.
"To be among some of the great athletes that have been inducted there would be a great honor," Wilson said. "That would be amazing."
Wilson teamed with Green to capture back-to-back national doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships in October and the ITA National Indoor Championships in November. They were only the third team in NCAA history to win both titles in the same season. They also went undefeated in the fall season with a 9-0 record.
Wilson and Green finished
28-8 overall in the spring season with a 19-7 mark at the No. 1 doubles spot, including a 10-3 mark versus Big Ten foes. The pair were ousted in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship in College Station, Texas, last month, but still finished ranked No. 1 in the Midwest Region.
"They have had an unbelievable year, especially considering that we had the toughest schedule in our history," Tucker said.
The Ohio natives were ranked No. 1 in the nation for three-quarters of the year. Green is from Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio.
The pair also have a busy summer in front of them. They will travel to Turkey in August and also will tour Europe. Wilson said he is particularly excited about participating in an exhibition event prior to the U.S. Open this summer.
Wilson, who started as a freshman, plays his best tennis in big matches, according to Tucker.
"He is a special player. He's been a good solid addition to the program."
Tucker said Wilson's strength is his hands and the way he handles the racquet.
"In doubles there are a lot of volleys and you have to have good hands," Tucker said. "He could take the fire off of a firecracker. His hands are so pure."
In high school, Wilson was the best player in the St. Francis program and was solely a singles player. He started at No. 1 singles all four years and finished second in the state as a senior.
But he played doubles in Junior and USTA tournaments. He and teammate Eric Thomas, of Cincinnati, were ranked as high as No. 5 nationally when they were 18.
"I like doubles a bit more than singles," Wilson said. "It's more of a team game. You get pumped up together. In doubles there's a little more strategy."
Wilson said stepping up from the high school level was a leap larger than he expected.
"At the college level everyone is bigger and stronger," he said. "It's tough as a freshman. There are no easy matches."
Wilson says he plays tennis about 20 hours per week. He also lifts weights and does other cardiovascular work.
"It's a big commitment," he said. "Then with school, you just learn how to do it. It's all about time management. But it's definitely worth it."
Wilson, a communications and marketing major, said he wants to go into the marketing field but is looking forward to traveling around the county again during his senior season.
"It's fun going out and playing for Ohio State," he said.
Contact Mark Monroe at:
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