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The Scarlet & Black

Men’s tennis picks up two Conference victories

Tracy Johnson ’16 serving versus Carroll University last Saturday, a match Grinnell won 8-1. Photo by Ellen Schoenmaker

Sam Curry

Tracy Johnson ’16 serving versus Carroll University last Saturday, a match Grinnell won 8-1.  Photo by Ellen Schoenmaker
Tracy Johnson ’16 serving versus Carroll University last Saturday, a match Grinnell won 8-1.
Photo by Ellen Schoenmaker

The Grinnell men’s tennis team steamrolled a pair of opponents last weekend and asserted themselves once again as the preeminent power in the Midwestern Conference.

In a twin billing on Sunday, April 9 ,the Pioneers defeated Carroll University in the morning 8–1 and then returned to the Bear in the afternoon to dismantle last year’s Conference runner-up Lake Forest College 9-0. Grinnell got off to a strong start against Carroll with three doubles victories, and Jose Coloma’s ’19 singles loss at No. 1 was their only blemish on the way to victory. Grinnell also ran the table in doubles against Lake Forest and took this momentum to a sweep in singles as well. Although both performances were dominating displays of tennis ability, head coach and soon-to-be Athletic Director Andy Hamilton ’85 saw some notable differences between the matches, mostly in the improved consistency that the team showed against Lake Forest.

“We were extremely consistent in our execution against Lake Forest and extremely inconsistent in our execution, at places, versus Carroll,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton attributed the difference between the two matches partially to the times that they were played, as the Pioneers played Carroll close to the cuckoo’s call, while they matched up against Lake Forest later in the day when they were hitting their athletic stride. The team also took the time to refocus and motivate themselves between matches.

“The conversation we had between matches was, ‘Hey, it’s all about you guys, it’s all about your preparation for the match and your energy.’ You can only control what you can control, and we controlled it against Lake Forest. We came out guns a-blaring,” Hamilton said.

Although easily displacing two of their top challengers from last year makes it seem like the Conference is firmly in Grinnell’s hands, players and coaches agree that they are still focusing on taking the MWC Championship and dealing with other goals as they arise, such as helping their coach reach a personal milestone before he moves on to his new position.

“The goal [is to] still win Conference and then qualify for Nationals,” Coloma said. “Also Coach Hamilton has 397 wins as a team, so we need three more for him to reach 400.”

Hamilton, however, is not focused on his individual accomplishments and was stoic in the face of reaching the mark.

“That would be gratifying, especially with the transition to the athletic dßirectorship. Milestones are fun for coaches,” Hamilton said.

This season, like every season, is about more than collecting wins and losses (or wins and wins in Grinnell’s case), it’s also about collecting experiences. For Coloma, his first year on the Grinnell tennis team has been a gratifying experience so far, because it has provided him the opportunity to be a member of a team, an experience he did not have in the past.

“It’s an awesome experience because you play and you see all of the people cheering for you and wanting you to win and supporting you all the time whether you win or lose,” Coloma said. “The tennis team has always treated me like a family since the first day.”

Fans trying to see this family of 16 in action are in luck, as the tennis team has three home matches this weekend. Saturday they host Monmouth College at 11 a.m. and then Knox College at 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday Illinois College at 9 a.m.   

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