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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Raife wins fourth title

The history books were dusted off and amended last week when Sam Raife ’10 captured his fourth Midwest Conference singles title, an accomplishment only six others in the history of the league can boast. At the same tournament, Raife took home his third doubles championship and his fourth team championship. Despite the wave of accolades though, Raife remains a quiet and humble teammate; when asked about his history-making match, he applauds the performance of his opponent and when pressed about his own achievements, he defers credit to his team.

“Everyone played well,” Raife said. “We went into the day confident, knowing that as long as we play well and play smart that we should win and everyone kept their wits about them. It feels great to win.”

As great as winning feels, the sensation is hardly a new one for Raife. Since he stepped onto the courts his first year, he has proven himself a veritable force to be reckoned with both in singles and doubles play. Raife boasted an intimidating 48-33 singles record and an equally impressive 39-24 in doubles entering the 2010 season. It wasn’t until this spring, however, that Raife fully came into his own as a tennis player.

“I think I’ve developed a lot of more of an all-court game, I’ve become more rounded as a player. I’m a lot more confident in my tennis game. I’ve developed a more concrete strategy that I know I can use to win. The confidence has helped me pull out wins, whereas as freshman or a sophomore I wasn’t able to,“ Raife said.

In addition to maturation on the court this season, Raife also took on a more serious role on the sidelines. As the only senior, Raife had to adapt immediately to a leadership position.

“It’s kind of a new role for me. We had two strong senior leaders last year, so this is a whole new experience for me,” Raife said. “I think with the support of my co-captains, we’ve worked to create good team unity especially because a lot of the team is pretty young beyond myself.”

As the 2010 season came to a head at the Midwest Conference Championships, Raife knew he would be setting a new precedent for Midwest Conference tennis with his series of victories, but not without some bittersweet reflection.

“After the match was over it was a sigh of relief knowing I completed it, but also sad knowing I was done with at least conference play in college.”

While Raife may be finished with conference play in college, we can be sure his talents won’t be left on the Grinnell courts.

“I’m considering trying to teach tennis, not full time, but as some sort of part time gig. I hope I can at least come back every year for alumni to meet with the guys and play on my own here and there.”

Raife’s more immediate future is a bit more relaxed though. His plans for next year: “I’m going to go into brewing. My plan is to get an apprenticeship in a small brewery hopefully in Belgium and eventually open my own microbrewery.”

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