From Cambodian Pros to D1 Foes, Men’s Tennis Prepares for 2018 Season

Jordan O'Roy, Sports Reporter

This year, the men’s tennis team topped off their winter break abroad with a challenging, yet memorable training trip to Cambodia that would mark the beginning of spring season. The following weekend, Whitman’s 14th-ranked men’s tennis team would travel to Gonzaga University to take on the Division 1 Bulldogs.

The training trip to Cambodia created a positive and competitive atmosphere as the team trained intensely in the hot and humid weather for eight days. During their training sessions they not only played against each other, but they also had the amazing opportunity to train and play against the Cambodia national men’s tennis team. This was a great opportunity for the team to expand their range of skills, technique and knowledge. When the team wasn’t on the court they resided amongst the many sightseers, visiting places such as Angkor Wat–the iconic temple in Siem Reap. It was in these moments that the team’s relationships grew exponentially, forming bonds and memories to last a lifetime.

As first-year Jack Freer said in an email, “It was hard to pick a favorite moment because the eight days we spent there were so much fun. Getting the chance to travel with 20 close friends is such an amazing experience. We got the chance to sightsee, play a lot of tennis and just hang out with each other. I think just getting the chance to experience Cambodia with my teammates would be my favorite part of the trip. It was a trip I will always remember and treasure.”

Transitioning into the following weekend the men’s tennis team took what they learned from training in Cambodia and went in full swing against the opposing Bulldogs. The Steven’s Center at Gonzaga buzzed with energy as the doubles team of Zach Hewlin and Robert Carter took a quick 3-1 lead over the Bulldogs’ own Zags Everly and Vincent Rettke. Whitman’s duo continued to succeed in their following games taking a 6-2 win and leaving a 3-doubles match as the deciding factor for an overall win in doubles.

The 3-doubles match was played by Daniel Foster and Chase Friedman who fought hard gaining a 4-2 lead at the beginning of the match, but Gonzaga’s team of Hunter Egger and Simon Dulde would capitalize on their opportunities and Whitman would fall just short of a win. The D3 Whitman Blues would continue to keep pressuring the D1 Gonzaga Bulldogs the whole match, as junior Nishaant Limaye explained.

“I think that a lot of matches were extremely competitive, and came down to a few key points that went [Gonzaga’s] way … Doubles were especially close, Chase Friedman and Daniel Foster almost got the win to put us up 1-0. Gary Ho, Zach Hewlin and Robert Carter also fought hard in singles. Gary took the first set, but came up short against a tough opponent,” Limaye said.

These past few weeks may have been challenging and exciting all at the same time, but overall the men’s tennis team’s experience was amazing and full of memorable learning moments. Not only did they develop physically, but they developed a strong game mentality as well.

“When playing a D1 school like Gonzaga, I think we go into the match thinking we have nothing to lose,” Carter said.

Being a senior, Carter has shown extreme growth and wisdom as he gets ready to play his last season; a season that he will undoubtedly remember for the rest of his life, as he is ready to leave every ounce of effort, passion and heart on the court.

With all of the recent challenges and excitement in Cambodia and at Gonzaga, the Whitman Blues Men’s Tennis Team is ready to face off against the rest of the season. The Blues have plenty of more matches ahead of them and they will continue their travel as they head to Oregon, California and Idaho. But for now the Whitman Blues will be facing off against their opponents at home, with a full home court advantage as the rest of the Whitman community cheer them on.