Men to host weekend tennis tournament

Kyle Howe

This weekend, the men’s tennis team will be hosting the ITA Northwest Regional Championships, which will span from the 24th to the 26th. This competition is the men’s only chance to test their mettle against Northwest conference opponents before the longer spring season.

“Everyone has a chance to play the best players in the conference . . . a chance to show off the work done over the summer, and try to assert yourself in the conference,” said junior player Matt Tesmond.

The tournament is based upon individual results rather than the results of the entire team, and players will either compete in the singles or doubles portion of the tourney.

“It is a pretty individualistic tournament, not team versus team . . . it adds a lot more significance on the personal level,” said Tesmond. “It is a good test to see how everyone is doing, where your game is at and where our game is at as a team in comparison to other teams in the conference.”

This weekend will be an excellent starting test for the already distinguished team, which is still hot off last season in which it won its fourth Northwest Conference title in a row, ending with a ranking of 22nd  nationally, while being ranked seventh  in the West Region.

The benefits are high for the individual who wins this weekend’s tournament, which provides  motivation for the men’s team to perform well.

“If you win this tournament you are an All-American automatically; that is the big incentive for everyone,” said Tesmond. In addition, “whoever wins this event gets to go to Mobile, Ala. in October and play the other regional conference winners . . . [he] can qualify to play in the division one event,” said head coach Jeff Northam.

The first tournament of the upcoming season is significant for the entire team, including the freshmen.

“For the freshmen it is important because they get match experience . . . and you don’t have to make the starting lineup to get match experience; our whole team is in,” said Tesmond.

Overall, this tournament is fairly low-key because it is during the short fall season, but it can provide foresight for what is to come in the approaching spring season.

“[This tournament] sets the tempo for the year, shows where we are at. It is an individual tournament, so I am excited to see how the individuals do: the last few years we have had great success,” said Northam. “Fall is a great chance for everyone to get together and play and practice . . . this tournament [can be used] to see where everyone is at.”

Northam speaks fondly of his players as he looks forward to the new season.

“[They are a] mature team, pretty well balanced . . . across seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen.”

Matches will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday and progress through semi-finals, then finish with final matches on Monday the 26th.