A Natural Champion: Junior Pete Thomason
Pete Thomason, a redshirt junior on the men’s Razorback tennis team, already has one national championship under his belt.
Thomason came to Arkansas from Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, where he was a crucial part of the national championship team his freshman year.
“That’s probably the highlight of my career so far,” Thomason said of his national championship win.
“He brings a lot of maturity coming in as a redshirted junior,” head coach Robert Cox said of Thomason. “And more importantly, he comes in with a championship attitude and that background in being successful at Tyler Junior College.”
Thomason said that the deciding match of that national championship was his final doubles match of the tournament, which he and his partner won.
“He’s played some doubles on a big stage, and I’m pumped to have him on a court next to me in a duel match in the spring,” Arkansas teammate Hall Fess said.
Thomason came to Arkansas last year and took a redshirt. He is 6-3 so far this season.
“He’s becoming a natural leader on and off the court,” Cox said.
Thomason said that the biggest changes between junior college and a Division 1 school are the facilities and the “bigness” of it all. He went to a junior college with a good, competitive mentality that prepared him for what he faces now, he said.
“In junior college he played on the biggest stage, under pressure,” Fess said of Thomason. “I think he’ll play a big part in getting us mentally ready for those moments.
Thomason started playing tennis when he was about 10 years old, following after his father.
“I love this sport because it’s tough,” Thomason said. “You have to be good at a lot of things. There’s a lot of moving, a lot of endurance stuff.”
Thomason says that some of his favorite things about Arkansas are the nice people, the good fishing opportunities and being a Texas boy, he is happy to be able to play tennis in his native south.
“My favorite thing is how the state of Arkansas supports the Razorbacks so much — that’s big, that’s a really cool thing,” Thomason said.
Thomason also deals with the astronomical task of balancing Division 1 athletics with an engineering major at the University of Arkansas.
“Whenever I’m in town, I just try to go to school,” Thomason laughed. “I basically try to get my homework done before I go on trips because once I’m on trips, I don’t really want to study too much.”
He also noted that his friends in his major and his teachers are a huge help to him getting everything done.
When he does catch a second of free time, Thomason enjoys playing guitar, playing ping pong, grilling, fishing and watching football — especially his Dallas Cowboys.
“I love tennis because it’s competitive and there’s not a whole lot of downtime,” Thomason said of the activity that takes up most of his time. “This team has a good time together. We battle hard on the court and have a lot of fun off the court.”
“We needed his championship attitude last year and we’re for sure going to need that this year,” Cox said.
The tennis team travels to Utah this weekend to participate in the Utah Challenge tournament.