Three Stags Crowned Champions in Ojai Tourney

With
their seasons coming to a close, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s (24-2, 7-0
SCIAC) and women’s (19-1, 8-0 SCIAC) tennis teams spent one of their last
weekends on the road, attending the 115th annual Ojai Valley
Tournament.

The
men’s team seized the opportunity to compete against highly-ranked teams and
blew their opponents away.

“The
tournament is a great opportunity for people lower in the lineup to either show
off their ability or qualify for nationals,” co-captain Nik Marino CM ’15 said.

Co-captain
Warren Wood CM ’15 and Skyler Butts CM ’16 became the first players in CMS
history to win back-to-back Ojai Division III titles. Butts defended his title
in the doubles championship by partnering with Daniel Morkovine CM ’17 to beat
Wood and Joe Dorn CM ’15. Wood came out with the singles crown after beating
Butts in straight sets in the final.

As a team, the Stags completed their best Ojai tournament in team history, advancing six singles players and four doubles teams into the
quarterfinals to close out a nearly perfect season.  

“Our performance as a team was fantastic,” Marino said. “Every year we improve. We have lost only two matches and have defeated a few DII schools and a DI school. We are all very
happy with our progress.

The Stags look to continue their dominance and finish the season strongly when they
compete in the SCIAC tournament against Pomona-Pitzer and University of Redlands May 1-2.

“I
think we have a great chance to win the tournament again this year,” Marino
said. “I am excited to see what happens this weekend. Pomona and Redlands will
be a good challenge.”

Beyond SCIACS, the men hope to
bring home a national title, an ambitious but realistic goal for the Stags.

“Our goal
is always to win NCAAs and do well in NCAA individual nationals,” said Marino. “I think we have a good chance to win everything. We need to work hard and stay
focused.”

The women’s team faced fierce competition and did not fare as well in the tournament as the men. 

“Overall,
we did not do as well as we have done in the past,” Kyla Scott HM ’18 said. “The
tournament allowed some Division I players into the draw, but everyone gave it
their best effort.”

In
singles, No. 4 seed Caroline Ward CM ’16 pushed through to the quarterfinals
after earning a first-round bye and winning two matches. However, she lost 6-1,
6-1 to Erin Walker of Abilene Christian University, who went on to win the whole
tournament.

In
the top-seeded doubles spot, Ward and Katie Kuosman CM ’17 reached the
quarterfinals but were ultimately defeated 6-4, 6-2.

“Caroline
and Katie played some great matches as well, but ended up losing a competitive
match in the quarterfinals to the team who won the whole tournament,” Scott
said. “I think they both played phenomenally in this tournament, as always, but
these DI schools are a little more skilled than we’re used to.”

Coming off of a tough weekend, the
Athenas remain optimistic for the remainder of their season. This coming
weekend, CMS will host the SCIAC women’s championships at the Biszantz Family
Tennis Center.

“Our
whole team is super pumped for SCIACS,” Scott said. “I think Ojai has helped
focus us, because now we remember what it feels like to lose. It was great
practice to have the opportunity to play against such talented opponents.
Everyone is totally dedicated and in great form, so I’m excited to see our work
pay off.” 

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