Tom Moonen and Stijn Slump, you may have seen those names before on our news page or social media channels. This week we’re going to talk about these two tennis players and their university in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
When it comes to experienced student athletes, Tom is definitely one of them! It is almost unavoidable that you haven’t seen him before, in May last year he did an insta take-over and appeared in our Senior Spotlight. So last year Tom was already a senior, but due to corona he (just like Willem in the previous university spotlight) received an extra year of eligibility. Which is why Tom will be part of the Blue Riders for one more year and is now doing his Master in Finance.
It is clear that the life of a student athlete suits Tom well, he managed to get the most out of himself during this period. In the Netherlands Tom became Dutch Champion 3 times, won an ITF Junior title and was in the final several times. When we now look at Tom’s profile on the Athletics website of MTSU, we get pain in our fingers because of all the scrolling!
Tom has no less than 12 different awards to his name, some of which he has also won several times! Now we know that Americans like to hand out awards, but this is very impressive Tom!
Are you also curious about what Tom has to say to all current and future student athletes? You can read that below!
“Enjoy your hard work and ask others for help when you need it – everyone around you is going for success!””
Tom Moonen – Student-Athlete
But Tom is not the only Dutch tennis player who’s part of the Blue Raiders, as a bit more recent another tennis talent has been added to the team: Stijn Slump!
Before his departure to the USA, Stijn played high-level tennis in the Netherlands for eight years: he always belonged to the top 10 best players in his age group, won a national title and participated in various ATP tournaments. He also beat several high-ranked ITF youth players, including the number 3, 12 and 28 on the list. What a champ!
Now Stijn is part of the Blue Raiders, as Junior Stijn still has to go to MTSU. Yet he also has several great titles on his players profile at the moment.
We asked Stijn to summarize in one sentence how he experiences life as a student athlete, he gave the following response:
“A unique experience on which you can look back for the rest of your life.”
Stijn Slump – Student-Athlete
Two slamstox tennis players who are doing great as Blue Raiders at Middle Tennessee State University, time to take a look over there!
MTSU’s campus is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Perhaps that place does not immediately ring bells for most readers. It is a small city located in the heart of the state of Tennessee.
Nearly 22,000 students study at the university every year. The campus is a decent size by American standards and contains 137 different buildings! Below a photo of the campus can be found.
Before we tell you more about the facilities on campus, we would like to show you the video below. This way you’ll get into the ‘MTSU atmosphere’! The university made this video a few months ago so that the atmosphere of the school can be conveyed to every viewer within 30 seconds!
In addition to beautiful study rooms and large classrooms, there are also beautiful sports facilities on campus. Like any other American school, MTSU wants to take good care of its student athletes. We show a number of these facilities below.
We start with the home base of Tom and Stijn, the ‘Buck Bouldin Tennis Center‘. 14 beautiful tennis courts in, of course, the blue university color. 6 of the 14 courts are mainly used for the team, for these courses a scoreboard can be found next to the track! The other courts are also for ‘public use’. In addition to the tennis courts, offices, changing rooms and a reception are part of the tennis center. And that traffic jam of cars on the road there? On the way to see Tom and Stijn play of course 😉
The largest stadium on the campus is the ‘Johnny Red Floyd Stadium’, here the American Football matches are held. There is room for no less than 30,788 spectators! The first game was played in 1933, at the time against Jacksonville. Long way back, but of course a few things have been renovated at the stadium in the meantime. You can see the current stadium, with blue accents, in the photo below.
Fun fact: the longest win streak in the stadium’s history is 31 matches! Can you already see yourself winning while being encouraged by so many people ?!
Another crazy stadium is the ‘Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center’. It is an indoor hall with seating for 11,520 spectators! The stadium was built 40 years ago and the basketball matches for both men and women are held here. You can see the stadium below, great right?
The Alumni Memorial Gym is a beautiful indoor sports hall where the volleyball matches are held. Also the MT Softball Complex, an Indoor Training Facility , a stadium for the Track & Field and Soccer team and way more can be found! Curious about more? All sports facilities can be found on this page.
The Blue Raiders are part of the NCAA Division 1 and participate in the Conference USA. The university colors are white and blue and in addition to the many fans, the teams are encouraged by mascot ‘Lightning’. Lightning is a blue horse that shows up at many matches and events. You can see him in the picture on the right! Bad ass mascot right?
The Blue Raiders consist of a total of 13 teams, 7 women’s sports and 6 men’s sports. The men play baseball, American football, tennis, basketball, golf and track and field. The women’s teams consist of a basketball, volleyball, tennis, softball, golf, track and field and soccer team.
The biggest rivals of the Blue Raiders are primarily the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the ‘Blazers’ van de University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Tom and Stijn’s team has won victories over Austin Peay, Rice, Illinois State and Notre Dame in the past two weeks. Go Boys! The team also won the Conference title in 2019. This was the first time in the history of men’s tennis at MTSU. As Tom pointed out earlier in the senior spotlight, this was his best memory of his time as a student athlete. When you see the video below you will immediately understand that. Goosebumps guaranteed!
In addition to the varsity sports, which are the sports practiced by student athletes, there are also various ‘club sports’ at the university. This includes rugby, ice hockey, men’s football and inline hockey. Haven’t you heard of inline hockey before? That’s indoor hockey on roller skates!
Another special and popular club sport at the university is equestrian sports. The university has its own equestrian team that participates in the ‘Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’. So officially the equestrian team is a ‘club sports’, but several riders within the team have managed to win individual championships! In addition, as a team they became ‘Western Reserve Champions’ in 2003. That’s how successful club sports can be!
The ‘clubs team’ that wrestles is also very successful. They participated several times in the NCWA (National Collegiate Wrestling Association). The team ended up in the top 8 every year in the past 3 years!
So both the varsity teams and the club sports achieve great results on MTSU! Do you want to see more? Then check out the athletic page of the university or check the video below that gives a tour through the athletic part of the university!
If you already know something about the life of a student athlete in the USA, you also know that you are only a student athlete if you dedicate yourself to both your sport and your studies. Fortunately, MTSU also offers plenty of choice in study directions. There is in any case for every student athlete, in addition to beautiful sports facilities, also a nice study to follow!
MTSU has created different categories, courses are offered within the following directions:
- College of Basic and Applied Sciences
- College of Behavioral and Health Sciences
- College of Education
- College of Graduate Studies
- College of Liberal Arts
- College of Media and Entertainment
- College of Business
Do you want to know if the study you like is offered at MTSU? Check out this link.
Would you like to become a student athlete in the USA, just like Stijn and Tom? Or would you like more information? Reach out, and we will help you!