Heading into the 2013 season, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s tennis team has much to which to look forward. Sagehen tennis has consistently been one of the strongest teams on campus and certainly is in a position to become a national force to be feared.
In 2012, the Sagehens put up an impressive 14-10 overall record with a highly-contested second place finish in the SCIAC. After a particularly dominant regular season, the Sagehens headed into the SCIAC tournament with plenty of confidence in their chances of capturing the coveted conference title. After defeating another tough SCIAC competitor in number-12 California Lutheran University, P-P entered into the conference final against their cross-street rivals, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags.
Playing at the University of Redlands courts, the Sagehens fell just short of the tournament victory against their extremely tough competitors, losing by a score of 6-3. In the doubles matches, the Stags stole two of three matches with strong play during the crucial points. After splitting number-one and number-two doubles, the Stags outplayed the Sagehens in a deciding tiebreak at the number-three position. With the match tied at eight games apiece, P-P rattled under the pressure and lost the game—and consequently the match 7-2. During the singles matches, CMS lived up to their number-five ranking. Straight set victories from players at numbers three, four and six, in combination with a three-set battle at number five, gave the Stags their necessary points to claim victory over the Sagehens.
Perhaps the loss stayed with the Sagehens, since they quickly lost in the NCAA tournament to number-nine UC Santa Cruz 5-3. In the individual tournament, P-P did not fare much better, with two-time All-American Tommy Meyer PO ’12 falling to Paul Burgin of number-two Kenyon College.
For the upcoming season, the Sagehens return five of their six singles starters. However, the graduation of Meyer, in combination with that of his doubles partner Uday Singh PO ’12, will leave P-P with a big hole to fill as they attempt to dethrone CMS for the conference title in 2013.
Perhaps the Sagehen who will have to fill most of this hole will be Chris Wiechert PZ ’14. At number-two singles in 2012, Wiechert had an incredibly successful season and was a First-Team All-SCIAC selection. As the 31st-ranked singles player in the nation, Wiechert has demonstrated his talent throughout the past two seasons. Claiming victory over two of the top five singles players in the nation in 2012, Wiechert must continue to expand upon his previous success for the Sagehens to remain competitive in the SCIAC. As the likely number-one singles player in 2013, Wiechert must elevate his game to a whole new level in order to beat consistently the very best DIII singles players in the nation. Earlier this fall, Wiechert fell just short of the ITA West regional title, losing 6-2, 4-6, 5-7 in the final.
The incoming first-year class will also prove instrumental in the Sagehen efforts to claim the SCIAC this season. Among the four new players on the team are Sam Crawford PO '16, a two-star recruit from Kansas City, MO, and Jonathon Kim PZ '16, from Clayton, CA. Kim, also a two-star recruit, was MVP on his high school’s tennis team for four consecutive years. After losing only three times throughout his first year at Clayton Valley High School, Kim never lost again and amassed an incredible 86-3 record in the process. The four first-years will likely play an integral role in the Sagehen team this season with the loss of a couple of seniors last season.
All in all, the Sagehens look like they will have a strong 2013 season, repeating, even exceeding, all that they were able to accomplish in 2012. In fact, a poll conducted recently indicates that the Sagehens are ranked number ten heading into the winter season. Only time will tell how P-P lives up to these expectations.
As the Sagehens' men’s tennis team practices through the winter, they await the beginning of their season Thursday, Feb. 21 against Bates College.