Before the year started, I was sort of leaning towards Williams as the national championship favorite, but after this tournament, I’m not so sure. It’s important to note that Fall results only mean so much, but here are the takeaways:
1. Eph Off. Not a single Williams player made it to the quarterfinals of the singles draw. The quarterfinals. I know this regional is very deep, but you gotta get at least one out of Sun, Micheli, and Meyer into the quarters. That’s horrendous. It’s hard to believe that you’re supposed to win a national championship when you’re getting your asses kicked up and down the court by both Middlebury and Amherst.
2. Middlebury Renaissance. The Panthers had a poor year last year, but they’re not going to stay down for long. They return Parower, who, despite losing in the Round-of-16, gave Kahan a huge run for his money. They added Alex Johnston. I have no idea who this guy is, but he graduated in the class of 2007, he’s from Great Britton, and he apparently has junior eligibility. He also beat Felix Sun 3 and 4, and lost to Yaraghi in two tiebreak sets. Then, there’s freshman Palmer Campbell, who advanced to the semifinals. He probably had one of the easier roads to the semis, but beating Micheli 5 and 3 is no small task, and he was able to take out Roode, which is something neither Weiss nor Crampton can say.
3. Amherst Reloads. Some people might have looked at Amherst this year, and said, “look, they lost Rattenhuber and Chafetz and Waterman and Jung; they can bring in as many good recruits as they want, they just won’t be as good as they were last year.” Whoops. Even without Fritz, they got three players into the semis, and then had a pair of freshmen play for the regional championship. The rest of the nation should be worried.
4. No panic for Bates/Bowdoin/Trinity/etc. Just because they couldn’t beat the best players from Amherst doesn’t mean they’re not going to be good this year.
1. Eph Back On. Their doubles performance was as good as their singles performance was bad. The fact that they managed to get three doubles teams in the semifinals of this tournament is absolutely ridiculous. If you ignore the fact that prosets are so prone to massive momentum shifts, it seems like their #3 doubles team is better than the #1 teams from Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, etc. Obviously, that’s a huge exaggeration, but it’s still an incredible showing for the Cows in doubles. Maybe they were only able to do it because they’re players weren’t tired from singles.
That’s all you can really say about the doubles tournament. With only 32 teams in the draw, everyone is going to be pretty good, so it’s probably best not to make a big deal out of Bowdoin’s #1 team losing in the first round and whatever else. Williams found some teams that work well together, but everyone else has a lot of time to put together doubles teams that will work for them in the season. Congrats to Crampton and Bettles for their great run! That was not an easy draw.