News in Brief: UVA Student Claims Second Straight National Wheelchair Tennis Title

April 17, 2024 By Andrew Ramspacher, Andrew Ramspacher,

A University of Virginia student is now a two-time national champion.

Jacob Wald, a third-year computer science student, recently won his competitive flight at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Lake Nona, Florida. 

The “Flight C” champion last year, Wald conquered “Flight B” this year when he topped Auburn University’s Evan Heller in three sets in the final match. This title advances him into the “Flight A” field for next year’s tournament. 

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Wald is one member of UVA’s three-person wheelchair tennis club. He and his teammates – third-year kinesiology student Brian Douglas and third-year School of Law student Joseph Camano – have participated in tournaments across the country this season, starting with an event in Powder Springs, Georgia.

“We have been training, traveling to tournaments and generating funds all on our own as a club sport in hopes of eventually establishing a more permanent program at UVA so that future disabled students have an outlet that can provide as much happiness to them as wheelchair tennis has to us,” said Wald, who has limited mobility stemming from a neurological condition called transverse myelitis. He was diagnosed when he was 11.

The club, founded by student Mason McGrady and coach Catherine DeSouza in 2021, has had several triumphs. During the 2023 national tournament, four players – Camano, Douglas, McGrady and Wald – earned All-America honors.

“Achieving this type of success with such a small team and so few resources is monumental for us,” Wald said.

Putting his computer science skills to use outside of the classroom, Wald built the team’s website from scratch. The site details the club’s story and roster and also spotlights the group’s fundraising efforts.

Media Contact

Andrew Ramspacher

University News Associate University Communications