Tucked away in a valley to the northwest of Los Angeles is the small town of Ojai, California. Known more for its scenic beauty, hiking, and small businesses, Ojai also played host to an important men and women’s tennis tournament on the weekend of Apr. 22. Among the teams represented on the men’s side were some of the best teams in the SCIAC, including University of Redlands (15-5), California Institute of Technology (9-6), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (21-4), and Pomona-Pitzer (12-8). The Sagehens came in playing hot, blowout winners of their past three matches against Chapman University (2-13), California Lutheran University (3-12) and Whittier College (6-10).
That success continued in the Ojai Invitational, with several Sagehens finding victory. Jonathan Kim PZ ’16 reached the semifinals in the Men’s Division III West Singles before bowing out in his match against No. 1 seed Skyler Butts CM '16 with set scores of 6-2, 6-4, while both Sam Gearou PO ’19 and Spencer Simonides PO ’17 also won their first matches of the day in the 21 Men's Independent Singles, but were knocked out in the round of 16. Both Jake Yasgoor PZ ’17 and Sam Malech PZ ’18 made it to the round of 32.
In terms of doubles, the Sagehens also did well, but struggled to beat their talented CMS rivals. The team of Yasgoor and Kim made it to the quarterfinals of the Men's West Doubles before losing to the rival team of Julian Gordy CM ’19 and Oliver Seifert CM ’16 by a score of 8-4. On the other side of the bracket, both Pomona-Pitzer doubles teams made it to the semifinals and squared off against each other, with the team of Josh Gearou PO ’19 and Sam Gearou PO ’19 going up against the team of Graham Maassen PZ ’17 and Simonides. Maassen and Simonides eventually won, with an 8-1 victory. Maassen and Simonides advanced to the finals but lost to the team of Daniel Morkovine CM ’17 and Butts by the score of 6-3, 7-6. Sam Gearou said that although he was slightly disappointed by the results of the tournament, he thought it was a good experience for the team.
“It was an amazing experience with the Pomona-Pitzer tennis team,” Gearou said. “The team overall didn’t do great, but … we played pretty well. The competition was the best of the best. I think we were all hoping to finish better and get further in the double and singles draw, but regardless, it was a good experience.”
The Sagehens next take the court against Caltech at home on Friday, Apr. 29 at 2 p.m. to finish a previous match that had been suspended due to rain on Apr. 9. The last time these two teams played in the final dual matches of the regular season last year, the Sagehens had a convincing 9-0 win, and they hope to do as well this year.