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The Scarlet & Black

Men’s tennis head to 16th straight NCAA Tournament

Coach+Paige+Madara+named+MWC+Coach+of+the+Year+for+the+second+year+in+a+row.++++Photo+by+Liz+Piak
Coach Paige Madara named MWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Photo by Liz Piak
Coach Paige Madara named MWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Photo by Liz Piak.

By Ray Goedeker
goedeker@grinnell.edu

 

This past weekend, Grinnell men’s tennis completed a clean sweep of the conference tournament, going nine-for-nine in their matches. This marks the 16th consecutive year that the Pioneers are headed to the NCAA D3 Tournament.

“Everything went really well, we had some great highlights of the season, we beat a nationally ranked team and we were nationally ranked for the first time in Grinnell history, it was a great season,” said Ben Cobin ’20.

“We’ve had a great season, and we have a little bit more to play, which is always a great thing to be able to say going into May and our final weeks,” said head coach Paige Madara.

First-year Bowen Mince stepped up to first place, along with Ben Cobin as they won three sets of duo matches. They took down Knox in an 8-1 match, followed by beating Lake Forest 8-5, then finally playing Cornell and winning 8-2. Mince also went on to give an exceptional performance in singles matches, winning against St. Norbert, Cornell, and Illinois College at the number one seed. Mince has now been named the Midwest Conference Newcomer of the Year.

“It is so great to be recognized for all my hard work I put in before coming here. It was really amazing to have the coach put me into a leading position on the team and it was a lot of pressure, though as the season moved on, playing against the other school’s number one players has really helped me grow. Newcomer of the Year feels incredible because I have tried really hard to get better and contribute to the team’s success,” said Mince.

The team had what Madara calls a “record setting season.” They beat Stevens, a nationally ranked team, for the very first time. Grinnell also became ranked nationally for the first time ever and hopes to continue their incredible play in the NCAA Tournament. Historically, the team has never moved past the second-round of the tournament, but this year things are looking like that could change.

“We have been past the first round a couple times, but never past the second. It would be a really good chance for us to move past into the third round this year and show that we should be ranked way above what we currently are,” said Cobin.

“We lost to a few good teams earlier in the season and we would really love another shot at them in this tournament, as well as we really just want to play every good team in the region that we can. We hope that when we play against some of the best teams in the country, that we can prove all of the hard work we have been putting in. Win or lose, we really just want to put it all out there on the courts. It’ll be great to get a win or two in the tournament,” said coach Madara.

Coach Madara was named MWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. She attributes her recognition to “the team’s performance day in and day out.”

Grinnell men’s tennis will compete in the NCAA Division Three Tournament the week of May 13.

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