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The Scarlet & Black

Men’s Tennis finishes unbeaten for 19th straight season

Men’s Tennis has not lost a MWC game since 2003, and they are practicing hard to make sure that their winning streak doesn’t end anytime soon.
Men’s Tennis has not lost a MWC game since 2003, and they are practicing hard to make sure that their winning streak doesn’t end anytime soon. Photo by Elena Copell.

By Papa Kojo Ampim-Darko

Grinnell’s Men’s Tennis completed their Midwest Conference (MWC) South Division play last weekend with an unbeaten record for the 19th season in a row. Rather than resting on their laurels, though, the team is looking on towards the next challenge.

In his first year as a Pioneer, Bowen Mince ’22 has been impressed by the level of competition and the support his teammates have given him to help settle in and play to the best of his abilities. “I got to play pretty tough opponents … And I had great support from my team all the way through, really cheering me on. It was great to know that they’re encouraging me and supporting me.”

Last weekend’s wins mean that Grinnell has not lost a Midwest Conference match since 2003, recording 97 consecutive conference wins in that time — the record for the longest active win streak for a Division III team. Mince said, “It really shows, I think, the determination we have, to really try hard every match … and I think it shows down the lineup, we have such good depth that we can count on [any] player to do well for the team.”

Ishaan Tibrewal ’20 felt similarly about the team’s success: “We really push each other super hard at practice. … We never take it easy and just leave it all out on the court”.

Teamwork and camaraderie have played a large part in this team’s successes, according to Mince. “We really have a great connection, we really rely on each other for even academic support outside of tennis, which is great. … Those doubles wins we’ve had in the season [are] really due to having that chemistry between us really helps a lot,” he said.

Nick Alex ’20 was also aware of the boost this camaraderie gave the team: “We have about 18 players (teams only need 6) [and] two thirds of the team has really taken on the responsibility of cheering on the guys playing. … It really helps to hear your teammates in your ears the whole time.”

Looking ahead, the team is hoping to close out the season on a positive note. Mince, currently the top seed for the team, shared his mindset for the next few weeks, “I’m gonna leave it all out there, win or lose, I just want to know I tried my best and made the best contribution to the team.” Tibrewal said, “Next week we have the conference tournament, and after that nationals … Last year, we made the round of 32 at nationals, so hopefully get to that and maybe push it even to the round of 16.”

The Pioneers will be back in action in their last home game of the season on Friday, April 19, against University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Alex said, “That’s our last home match, so everybody should come to that. … That’ll be a good game [since] we’re playing a tough team of pretty good players.”


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