Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Varsity Men’s Tennis Raises a Racquet for Their Upcoming Season

Photo contributed by Harley Monleon.

Two weeks ago, Whitman College Men’s Tennis took to the court for their first matches of the season. During the matches, the men’s team introduced new players and used returning players to their advantage. As the tennis season begins, the team has their sights set on their end of season goals. Junior Alejandro Raffo Dunezat explained that practice makes perfect as the team sets their aim for the Northwest Conference Championship at the end of the season.

“Our goal this year is to win the Conference title and make a good run at the NCAA national tournament,” Dunezat said.

Alejandro Raffo Dunezat hits a serve. Photo contributed by Harley Monleon.

Two weekends ago, the team split into two groups to play in Idaho against Idaho State, Colorado Mesa and Lewis and Clark State College. For Dunezat, every match he played in Idaho provided an opportunity to hone his skills as a player and as a team.

“We competed well against teams from higher divisions and in some really tough conditions (a lot of altitude). We lost all three matches, but we achieved our goal of getting some valuable matchplay and preparing for the start of the Conference season,” Dunezat said.

Sophomores Gunnar Woller and Artem Manov agreed with Dunezat. Even amidst tough matches, the two of them both felt the team’s performance would sharpen their skills and saw their teammates rise to the challenge.

“Even though we did not get as many wins as we may have hoped, the team energy was high. It’s hard starting off the season playing a D1 team,” Woller said.

First-year Charlie Boyden described a similar atmosphere, as he saw his teammates enjoying themselves in spite of their losses.

“The teams we played were tough teams, higher divisions, but we battled and had smiles on our faces and had a good time out there. And that is very important to winning championships,” Boyden said.

Despite their losses, the tennis team got to work under pressure and members of the team were able to take on a difficult tournament with ferocity. Like Dunezat, Woller saw their first tournaments as a time to self-evaluate for improvement.

“The boys handled it beautifully and kept their heads high and got better,” Woller said.

Manov also observed his teammates during a difficult tournament but saw them rising to the challenge.

“We had some close matches and had some guys step up which was really awesome to see,” Manov said.

When every game is an opportunity to practice, though, the tennis team also feels that they must maintain a competitive edge. This year, the team retained many of their players, a fact which Dunezat hopes will give the team a leg up in their competitions.

“We have much more experience in comparison to the previous years. Also, most of our big competitors in the Conference have lost many of their starting players, so hopefully that will open some opportunities for us this year,” Dunezat said.

With these dynamics in mind, Dunezat and Manov both think that the team has more of a chance at winning the Northwest Conference Championship and are looking forward to doing just that in the coming months.

“We are going into this season with much more confidence and belief that we can win the Conference tournament this year and have a great run. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Manov said.

The team is hopeful for the season ahead, a sentiment that Woller also shared.

“I’m really looking forward to how competitive the team is in a regional and national perspective,” Woller said.

For Whitman’s varsity tennis, the start of the season signifies a time for competition, but also a time for working as a team. As they approach each tournament, the tennis team maintains a sense of fun along with a competitive spirit. Boyden emphasized the positive environment that tennis has provided for him, as well as a competitive one.

“It’s always fun spending time with these guys, these are great teammates and I love being on this team. I also love competing in the matches and having fun and smiling,” Boyden said.

New faces like Boyden’s, in addition to the advantage of returning players, are the team’s strategy to taking on the Northwest Conference Championship by the end of the season.

“Everyone is improving, we have great newcomers coming in and are getting some guys back from injury last season, so it’s going to be really exciting to see it all unfold,” Manov said. Even with their early losses two weeks ago, the tennis team believes they held their ground and will meet competing schools with racquets raised in their upcoming tournaments.

 

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