Cal’s men’s tennis set to continue its momentum at annual Harvard Chowder Fest
Any sports fan knows that it’s not uncommon for individuals or teams to have hot streaks when performing at an elite level. What is much less common and ultimately defines the best in a given sport is the ability to maintain that level throughout multiple competitions or seasons.
Cal’s men’s tennis team enjoyed success in last week’s Battle in the Bay Classic, which featured a run to the singles semi-final by senior Philip Hjorth and a doubles title courtesy Yuta Kikuchi senior and rookie Carl Emil Overbeck. These victories made it clear that the Bears are certainly capable of competing with the best teams in the country. Now the blue and gold will look to show they can consistently deliver that level of tennis during the Chowder Fest tournament at Harvard’s Beren Tennis Center starting Friday.
Cal’s roster at the annual Cambridge tournament will include Hjorth, Kikuchi, Overbeck and Lucas Magnaudet, all of whom fought in the Battle in the Bay, as well as sophomore Noah Gampel and freshman Michael Wright. , who will make their college tennis debut for the Bears at the event. A native of Malibu, Gampel was a five-star rookie ranked 49th in his class, according to TennisRecruiting.net. Meanwhile, Wright is a local who attended Berkeley High School.
Over the three days of the tournament, Cal could potentially face Florida, Arizona State and Harvard. Notably, the Gators beat Baylor to win the national championship last season and enter this season as one of, if not the, greatest powers in men’s collegiate tennis. Their roster has six players in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, or ITA, top 90 preseason singles standings, including reigning individual national champion Sam Riffice at No.2. Additionally, the duo of Riffice and Ben Shelton is one of Gator’s three doubles pairs. included in the top 60 of the ITA preseason doubles ranking.
While the Gators appear to be the tournament favorites on paper, the Sun Devils and Crimsons are certainly forces to be reckoned with. The Crimsons are on the heels of an impressive performance at the Milwaukee Tennis Classic last weekend, where sophomore Henry von der Schulenburg won the singles title and senior Brian Shi scored a surprise against Ronald Hohmann, first seed of LSU, who finished 24th in the ITA. pre-season rankings.
The Sun Devils, on the other hand, opened their fall season simultaneously at the Battle in the Bay and the Larry Easley Memorial Classic at UNLV. Arizona State had limited success from the two players they sent to battle in the Bay, with Louisville transfer, 51st ranked, Fabien Salle and rookie Nicola Cigna falling in the first round of the table respectively. singles main and singles qualifying draw.
In addition, the duo Cigna and Salle fell to the couple Cal de Hjorth and Magnaudet in the first round of the doubles qualifying event. In Las Vegas, however, the Sun Devils nearly won the jackpot, with second student Spencer Brachman failing to win the singles flying trophy at the Larry Easley Memorial Classic. Led by head coach Matt Hill, Arizona State will seek to find the level of tennis that saw him upset Stanford en route to a final appearance in the Pac-12 tournament last year.
For a Blue and Gold team that has undergone relatively significant training and roster changes during the pandemic, the looming question is whether or not they can maintain the elite caliber of tennis that the program has historically been at. used to. Nonetheless, the team are confident in their ability to succeed.
“Obviously there have been a lot of changes,” Hjorth said. “But I feel like the team has really just come together. You can feel that the camaraderie and energy of the team has never gone away.
Milad Shafaie covers men’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].