First-year Thomas Cooper has success with Tartans’ tennis

First-year Thomas Cooper won No. 2 doubles at the 2012 UAAs. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager) First-year Thomas Cooper won No. 2 doubles at the 2012 UAAs. (credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager)

After finishing 5–1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships, first-year Thomas Cooper of the Carnegie Mellon men’s tennis team was able to spare a few moments to talk about his career as a college athlete.

The Tartan: What is your major?
Thomas Cooper: One of my most popular nicknames is Teppy T, short for Tepper Tom. ’Nuff said.

T: What are you looking to do in the future?
C: I hope to grow up into a responsible and mature adult who makes a positive difference in the lives of others. I also hope to help establish world peace throughout the four corners of the globe. You know, the whole “make love, not war” thing.

T: What do you enjoy most about the tennis team?
C: Several of the things I enjoy most about the tennis team include team trips, intra-team camaraderie, getting a toned and tan body, and most of all, spending time with the wonderful Lady Tarts — our girls team.

T: What has been your proudest moment?
C: My proudest moment on the team was seeing Big Chris [first-year Christian Heaney-Secord] grow up before my eyes during the North Carolina Weslyan match. I felt like a mother bird watching her chick spread its wings for the first time as he gutted out an intense three-set match to propel us to victory.

T: What are your goals for next season?
C: We want to bring a National Championship to the ’Burgh. First and foremost, we would like to compete within the school for the highest GPA of any team. This is a top priority for my fellow mathletes, like myself.

T: What has been your funniest moment on the team?
C: One of the funniest moments of my season was trying to wake up Julian Pearlman on spring break. The poor kid needed a Red Bull so bad, all he could do was lay in his cot and groan until team captain Jeremy “The Asian Invasion” King pounced on him, pummeling him with pillows and forcing him out of his sloth-like attitude.

T: What is your favorite food to pig out on with the team?
C: As a team, we take great pride to “eat to compete.” Myself and the other freshmen have a tradition of going to Schatz one night a week after practice. This particular night of the week is often the most dreaded weekly endeavor for all parties involved. I suppose the reason we continue to go can best be summed up by a wise Carnegie Mellon tennis alumni, who asked to remain anonymous upon social grounds. He said, “The Schatz train only has one stop, and once you’re on that train, you gotta take it all the way to the end of the line. That end of the line is the cemetery.”

T: What do you like to do on road trips?
C: We really enjoy quiet conversations and getting to know each other on a more intimate level. There exists a heated rivalry among the team in the game Catch Phrase. Personally, I also really enjoy instigating arguments with ol’ Bill Duncan [first-year William Duncan]. It is fun to push his buttons and get him all riled up, only to bring him down to my level of intelligence and beat him with experience.

T: What do you find most rewarding about being a Carnegie Mellon athlete?
C: I love the varsity weight room. I often find the amount of weight in the public gyms is simply not enough. I am also flattered by the recognition and popularity that being a tennis player brings. The sheer amount of spectators that come to watch us play really validates all the hard work we put in.