Duke stunned the club tennis world last weekend, winning it all in its first appearance at the United States Tennis Association's National Campus Championship.

The men's and women's club tennis team defeated Wisconsin-Madison's perennial powerhouse squad, 26-21, in the championship match at the Tennis Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz. April 18 to clinch the championship.

Although the title banner will not hang from the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium or the bleachers of Wallace Wade Stadium, the club tennis team's achievement marked Duke's first national championship of any kind in two years.

"It may be club sport, but a national championship is a national championship-that's something that takes a whole lot of work no matter what level you're at," said team captain Greg Van Winkle, a senior. "Duke sports has had a lack of championships the last four years, and so although a basketball championship would be great, I feel like we really brought something to the school that we can all celebrate."

Faculty Advisor Mike Forbes said he thinks the club tennis team's feat will do much to increase the visibility of club sports, which have often fallen under the radar, although more than 1,000 students take part in the competition.

Forbes said the club tennis team's win is the first national championship he has witnessed in nine years overseeing club sports.

"To win is an amazing accomplishment, especially for a small school because you just don't have that many students trying out," he said. "It's a great statement about the commitment to athletics outside of varsity sports."

Co-President John Thompson noted that Duke encountered only large state schools in the tournament and was often considered the underdog in its matches.

"Generally speaking, the smaller the school, the greater the disadvantage," said Thompson, a senior. "But at a school that's such a good academic institution, you're going to find people who could have played Division I-A elsewhere but wanted to pursue their academic dreams. It wasn't a disadvantage for us at all.... We really put Duke on the radar at a national level."

Van Winkle said he has experienced treatment typically reserved for other athletes since being crowned champion.

"I've gotten a lot of congratulations, even from people I don't know," he said. "You're used to seeing people go up to varsity athletes and say 'Great game,' but you don't expect to get a whole lot of that as a club athlete. It's cool to be recognized like that."

Co-President Alex Tuna, a senior, said his team's feat will be of little comfort to Duke basketball fans whose hearts were broken in the NCAA Tournament. But he said a national championship of any sort is cause for celebration.

"I'm pretty confident no one's going to burn a bench over the championship, but I think it's something students can be proud of," he said.