Tulane University tennis player Benji Jacobson was a 2018 Jewish News High School Athlete of the Year.
Tulane University tennis player Benji Jacobson was a 2018 Jewish News High School Athlete of the Year. (Tulane University)

Benji Jacobson went 2-3 in a season-opening tournament at Mississippi State.

A red-shirt freshman year. A lost season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bad case of COVID-19. Injuries.

All made Benji Jacobson’s first four years on the Tulane University men’s tennis team a challenge, to say the least.

Add a hurricane to the list of Jacobson’s challenges at Tulane. The dangerous and damaging Hurricane Ida, to be exact.

Benji Jacobson
Benji Jacobson Tulane University

The imminent arrival of the powerful storm in New Orleans caused Jacobson to quickly catch a 6 a.m. Aug. 28 flight home to Bloomfield Hills.

He spent time in Michigan and New York — where he met up with Tulane tennis teammates Billy Suarez from New York City and Fynn Kuenkler from Germany and watched a little of the U.S. Open tennis tournament — while he was away from Tulane.

He started online classes Sept. 13 and finally returned to New Orleans on Sept. 24, three days before the resumption of in-person classes.

Because his dormitory was damaged by the hurricane, he stayed in a downtown New Orleans hotel with other dorm residents until Oct. 11, when all the dorm residents were allowed to move back into the dorm.

“The school moved our stuff from the dorm to the hotel and back to the dorm,” Jacobson said. “I appreciated that.”

Debris on the sides of roads and blue tarps on roofs weren’t the only ramifications of Hurricane Ida that Jacobson noticed when he returned to Tulane.

“There was a horrible smell of sewage in the air,” he said.

How is tennis going for Jacobson? He went 2-3 in a season-opening tournament at Mississippi State. A strained hamstring slowed him down, but Jacobson feels he’s getting back to 100% health.

“I’m praying for a normal rest of my senior year,” he said. “All I want to do is go to school and enjoy playing tennis and being in New Orleans.”

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