In advance ot the Big Ten Women's Tennis Tournament April 23-26 in Madison, we wanted to catch up with some of our former Badger tennis players who participated in past tournaments. Today we visit with Melissa (Zimpher) Chitko.
Melissa Zimpher was one of three Badgers named Big Ten Player of the Year. A first-team singles player in 1996-97, she was a member of Wisconsins only Big Ten Womens Championship team that went 10-0 in the regular season in 1996.
She was an NCAA qualifier in singles in 1996 and 1997, and earned UWs first All-American singles title by advancing to the Sweet 16 in 1996. She remains atop Wisconsins career singles records with the most wins and best record in a season (36-6 for 85.7 percent in 1996) and in a career (71-13 for 84.5 percent from 1994-97). She ranks No. 1 in doubles for both single season wins (33-12 for 73.3 percent in 1997) and in a career (55-17 for 77.0 percent from 1995-97).
Today Zimpher remains involved in tennis as a teacher at Neenah High School in Neenah, Wis., and the girls tennis coach. She shares her reflections on being a Badger tennis alumnae below.
1. What have you been doing since graduating and where are you living and working now
I live in Appleton and I am a business education teacher at Neenah High School. I also am the coach of the girls tennis team and a DECA advisor. (Note DECA/Delta Epsilon Chi is an international association of high school and college students studying marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality and marketing sales and service.
2. How has your academic experience and/or your degree from UW assisted you in your chosen career
I am a business education teacher so many of the business classes that I took at UW helped give me the knowledge and skills I need to be a great teacher.
3. Did your experience in athletics influence you in your current vocation If so, how
Seeing the positive effect my coaches had in my life made me want to work with children and hopefully impact someones life in the same positive way.
4. What is your fondest memory as a student-athlete at Wisconsin
Winning the Big Ten championship for the first time in school history.
5. What was the best thing about being a Badger
I was very proud to be a Badger because we represented such a great school.
6. What was your favorite class at Wisconsin
7. What was your favorite part of campus Where did you spend most of your time
I loved the Union and the path out to picnic point.
I spent a lot of time at Nielson (Tennis Stadium), obviously.
8. What advice would you give current student-athletes
Enjoy every minute of your time in Madison because it goes so fast.
NAME: Melissa (Zimpfer) Chitko
YEARS AT WISCONSIN: 1995-97
HOMETOWN: Dayton, Ohio
CURRENT ADDRESS: Appleton, Wis.
VOCATION: Teacher and tennis coach
FAMILY: Marrie to Scott Chitko; one son named Connor
Big Ten Player of the Year, 1996
First team All-Big Ten singles, 1996-97
Member of Wisconsins first Big Ten Conference team champion (10-0) in 1996
Member of the 1996 and 1997 NCAA qualifying team that won its first match in the NCAA tournament
the 1997 team was the Midwest Regional Team Champion
NCAA qualifier in singles in both 1996 and 1997; became Wisconsins first All-American in singles advancing to the round of 16 in 1996
NCAA qualifier in doubles earning All-American honors (with Colleen Lucey) by advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament
Ranks first in most doubles wins in a season with a 33-12 record (73.3 percent) in 1996-97
Ranks first in most career doubles wins with a 55-17 record (77.0 percent) in 1995-97
Ranks tied for first in most singles wins in a season with a 36-6 record (85.7 percent) in 1995-96
Owns the singles records for best winning percentage in a career (71-13) for 84.5 percent (1994-97) and in a season (36-6) for 85.7 percent