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The Key to the Syracuse Tennis Team's Success? Pistachios

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This week we finally realized that we need to be paying attention to Syracuse Orange tennis. The young squad is off to an 8-1 start and earned a spot in the ITA Tennis Top 25 for the first time in program history this week with a No. 24 ranking.

What helped bring on this rise to power? Was it good coaching? Smart recruiting? Solid training? Spectacular play?

Actually it was none of those. Per the Daily Orange, it was pistachios.

Assistant coach Shelley George introduced the snack to the team last fall. She purchases the pistachios at Tops Friendly Market on Nottingham Road, just a few hundred yards from Drumlins Country Club, the Orange’s home court. In the back of the Tops Market, in the produce section, lie 1-, 6-, 12- and 16-ounce packs of pistachios, made by The Wonderful Company.

At the Princeton University Invite last September, SU players rested at a wooden table between matches. They downed a 16-ounce bag of in-shell, lightly salted pistachios. Then, they laid the shells in the middle of the table, creating a 2-inch high wall of shells that extended about 3 feet long.

"We had a massive bag of them and just destroyed the whole pack," said Nicole Mitchell, a sophomore. "It’s just the team snack. Everyone eats them, everyone loves them. Pretty sure we’ll be sick of them by the end of the year."

The Syracuse tennis team rises to never-before-seen heights while chowing down on a nut that helps lower the risk of heart disease, supports joint health, and enhances eyesight. Coincidence? I think not.

Someone needs to give pseudo-health nut Dino Babers a head up about pistachios.