When something isn’t the way it should be on the Lehigh women’s tennis team, it’s up to Jamie Campisi to fix it.
As a junior captain of the team, Campisi has managed to find a seamless balance between shining on the tennis court and excelling academically, a skill that eludes many players of her caliber. It’s these skills that make her an inspiration to both her teammates and her coaches.
Many Division 1 college athletes start playing their sport at a very young age. For Campisi, the story is a little different. Although she started playing tennis at 5 years old, her true passions were basketball and softball.
“It wasn’t my main sport throughout most of my childhood.” Campisi said. “Once I reached about eighth grade, I had a bunch of injuries from basketball and softball, so tennis was really my third sport. But, it was the last one that I was able to play and still stay healthy.”
Her success as an athlete spans throughout her three years at Lehigh. As a freshman, Campisi went 4-0 in regular season Patriot League singles after recovering from an injury early in the season. Her efforts both on and off the court earned her the team Coaches Award.
During the 2015 spring season, Campisi won 14 doubles matches with her partner Christina Auyeung and scored the winning point to carry the Mountain Hawks over Villanova University. This past spring, she contributed to a 7-0 win over Lehigh’s rival, Lafayette College.
Campisi’s mental and physical toughness causes her to set the bar high for herself both academically and athletically. She maintains a competitive GPA as well as a No. 1 singles and doubles position on the team.
But the academic success doesn’t stop at her GPA. Her academic accomplishments earned her a spot on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for both her freshman and sophomore year.
Campisi’s achievements are not limited to her college career. Her high school record bears the same common theme of success in both academics and athletics. Campisi attended Villa Walsh Academy in Morristown, New Jersey, where she was a four-year All-Conference, All-County and All-Academic performer.
“(Campisi) is one of those people who leads by example,” Lehigh coach Wouter Hendrix said. “The academic excellence is one part, and then athletically…she never takes a day off.”
Hendrix says she’s always committed in practice and always working her hardest. She plays through a lot of injuries because she struggled through a lot of them. He said she just continues to play through it, and that’s the toughness component of it.
Campisi admits that sometimes it can be difficult to balance the demands of being captain of a Division I tennis team while also performing academically in a competitive undergraduate environment. But the skills Campisi has learned from being a leader on the team translate well to other areas of her life.
“It’s kind of difficult sometimes just balancing everything as a student athlete,” Campisi said. “Just always being conscience of the responsibility that it is and the privilege that it is to be a student athlete here at Lehigh and always making sure that, yes my grades are getting the attention that they deserve, and that I am giving myself the attention that I deserve, but also making sure I’m giving the team everything that I possibly can.”
“When you’re in your individual match, it’s all on you. It’s all on you to figure out whether you’re going to give 100 percent and making sure that you’re not going to tank a match.”
— JAMIE CAMPISI
Campisi attributes her academic and athletic success to the mental toughness that tennis has taught her. She realizes that the outcome of a midterm exam has no place in her mind when she’s on the court and because of this she is able to zone in on the match being played and develop a tunnel vision for the opponent in front of her.
Campisi’s tenacity hasn’t gone unnoticed by her peers on the court.
“She’s definitely kind of a mentor figure to me, her being a year older than me and also being the captain this year,” said Christina Auyeung, Campisi’s doubles partner. “ Whenever I had any issues I would come to her and ask for help. We both have the same values. She’s kind of like a sister to me. She’s very good at inspiring the team, making sure that we’re always pumped up for the next match.”
But the mental toughness applies to more than just drawing a line between academics and athletics, it also allows her to rely on only herself for the outcome of the match.
“I think mental toughness is definitely a big component of tennis,” Campisi said. “When you’re in your individual match, it’s all on you. It’s all on you to figure out whether you’re going to give 100 percent and making sure that you’re not going to tank a match …even if you’re tired or in a bad mood or if your opponent is cheating or playing really well. You can kind of control how you react to all of those things.”
Campisi looks forward to the skills she has perfected on the court helping her find success in the real world.
“Knowing that I can play under pressure conditions tennis wise gives me a lot of confidence when I leave the court, whether it be in academics or getting ready for interviews,” Campisi said. “With the real world approaching, the pressure doesn’t really bother me that much, and I think it’s because of the experiences that I’ve had in tennis.”
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