The weather in Cleveland is slowly but surely getting colder with each and every morning; midterms are almost upon us, and the Spartan men’s tennis team just wrapped up a rewarding fall schedule. Here on Case Western’s campus, time flies by. Coming off a historically successful 2013-2014 season that saw the Spartans reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, the men’s tennis team has experienced—and hopes to continue experiencing—great growth on and off the courts.
Participating in a few select tournaments to kick off the year, the Spartan men racked up quite a list of impressive performances. At the predominantly Division I Purdue Invitational, junior Christopher Krimbill advanced all the way into the semifinals of Flight A (the topmost level of competition). Sophomore Josh Dughi also burst onto the scene, capping off a stellar one-loss fall season with a first-place finish in Flight E of the Purdue Invitational. Dughi subsequently advanced to the quarterfinals at the USTA/ITA Regional Tournament this past weekend, and went undefeated record in challenge matches. For head coach Todd Wojtkowski, these recent performances have signified a gradual maturation and process of growth for his squad. “The positive signs of learning and growth….has shown through the improvement of [the team’s] results through the past few weeks,” he said.
The growth that the current CWRU team has undergone is nothing short of remarkable. For the past several years, the Spartans have relied on upperclassmen leadership to achieve success in the University Athletic Association (UAA) and NCAA tournaments. With a very large influx of new talent joining only two returning starters (Krimbill and senior Will Drougas), the current squad has worked very hard to achieve the cohesiveness required of them in order to be successful. According to Coach Wojtkowski, these efforts are not only “measurable as wins in the tournament…. [but also] measurable within our practices and scrimmages.”
Off the courts, the Case Western men have continued their tradition of being positively involved with the local community. In addition to holding a tennis clinic for visiting foreign doctoral students, the players plan to continue volunteering and community service efforts through events similar to “Case for Community Day.” This sense of involvement extends throughout our campus: President Barbara R. Snyder writes, “We are a community committed to increasing knowledge and deepening understanding. Faculty and student, staff and alumni—we all come together here with a shared sense of mission: to improve the lives of others.”
For the Spartan men’s tennis team, this coming offseason and subsequent spring schedule will be about working together, building cohesion and coming together as a group.