Spartans return with five of six flight victories
The Case Western Reserve University men’s tennis team produced winners in all four singles flights and captured one of two doubles flights at the season-opening W&L Invitational hosted by Washington & Lee University on Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th at Duchossois Tennis Center. Senior Kyle Gerber totaled five wins for the weekend to break the program’s all-time wins record.
The Spartans ended last season with the No. 17 ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll after qualifying an individual and a doubles tandem for the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Gerber, who entered his senior campaign with 93 combined wins in singles and doubles play, won the Flight A Singles title and teamed with junior John Healey for a runner-up performance in the Flight A Doubles Bracket. Gerber’s five victories bring his career total to 98. He passes Ben Sinder, who played from 2003-07, for the most wins in program history.
Competing in the top singles bracket, Gerber opened with a 6-4, 6-1 victory versus Rand Jackson of The University of the South. The senior then bested Hayden White of Washington and Lee in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-4) before sweeping (6-4, 6-2) Ross Silverberg of Franklin & Marshall College to claim the Flight A Championship.
“Kyle did some serious work this weekend,” said fifth-year Head Coach Todd Wojtkowski. “He played like a true senior against very good competition. Hayden White from Washington & Lee was around the top 20 in the nation last year, and for Kyle to beat him shows that his game is at a high level very early on in the season.”
In doubles action, Gerber and Healey started with an 8-1 victory versus Nolan Bacchieri and Doug Kaplan of Franklin & Marshall then advanced to the finals via an 8-4 decision against Rand Jackson and Sean Laughlin from Sewanee.
The other three Spartan singles titles came courtesy of junior Eric Klawitter in the Flight B Bracket, freshman Santiago Guerra in C and Healey in D.
Klawitter swept all three of his opponents and won the bracket by scores of 6-4, 6-1 versus freshman teammate Christopher Krimbill.
Guerra was 3-0 in his collegiate debut with his toughest match coming in the semifinals when he ousted Thomas Johnson of W&L in three sets (2-6, 7-5, 6-4).
“[Guerra] had an amazing debut,” noted Wojtkowski. “To win his first collegiate tournament, especially one of this caliber, is very impressive.”
Healey swept all three of his opponents in the D Bracket, including freshman teammate Viswajit Simhadri by scores of 6-1, 6-1 in the finals.
In Flight B Doubles play, Klawitter teamed with senior Nicolas Howe for three wins. After winning their first two matches by identical 8-0 scores, Klawitter and Howe needed a tie-breaker to defeat Krimbill and sophomore Will Drougas, 9-8.
“We’re very pleased with the way we performed this weekend,” said Wojtkowski. “Winning five of six brackets against teams consistently ranked in the Top 30 gives us a great start to the year. Our fall season takes on incredible importance for both regional and national rankings, and we’re excited to be competing against some of the best over the next few weeks.”
The Spartans are back in action next weekend at the Kenyon College Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15th and 16th in Gambier, Ohio. The United States Tennis Association/ITA Central Region Championship in Indianapolis, Ind. follows on Sept. 22-24.