Tuesday, June 06, 2017

HMT News: Graduation and Reunion Season

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 HMT News and Views: Graduation, Reunion and End of Fiscal Year '17

It is that bittersweet time of year in Cambridge—right after the reunion tents have been taken down and graduating seniors have all cleared out of the dorm rooms. The streets of Harvard Square feel empty and for many of us working at Harvard, there is a palpable sense of loss. By August, this feeling will be replaced by the exciting promise of all the incoming students about to arrive in Harvard Yard, but for now, we miss all the seniors and alums who once again graced our courts. Please read on for photos and notes from graduation and reunion events.

Quick fundraising plug

The end of Fiscal Year '17 is almost upon us. If you haven't given yet to Friends of Harvard Tennis, now is the time to step up! Remember that your gifts are crucial to fund our recruiting efforts, pay for out of region travel, and supplement our equipment and stringing budget. Also, your donation helps justify keeping a big roster of players and providing them with the same opportunities we had on HMT.

Below are four ways to give. Not sure if you have already contributed in FY '17? Contact Kristan Strout - our Varsity Club liaison (her contact details are below). 

  1. Donate Online: CLICK HERE! Select "Tennis" from the drop down menu.
  2. Donate by check: Mail checks payable "Friends of Harvard Tennis" to Friends of Harvard Tennis, 65 North Harvard Street, Boston, MA 02163
  3. Donate by credit card: Call or email Kristan Strout in the Harvard Varsity Club at (617) 495-3757 or strout@fas.harvard.edu
  4. To make a gift of stock or mutual fund transfer, contact the Harvard Management Company at 866-845-6596 or email security_gifts@hmc.harvard.edu

n.b. All gifts to Harvard Athletics will receive Class, Reunion, and FAS Campaign Credit. The Department of Harvard Athletics, the Friends groups and the Harvard Varsity Club encourage all alumni/ae to make an additional annual gift to the Harvard College Fund to support the overall experience for our student-athletes, which includes the College's commitment to financial aid. 

Graduation Events

Congrats to Brian Yeung '17 of HMT and June Lee '17 of HWT (pictured below at the the Senior Letterwinners' Dinner.) Each year this fabulous event has grown. This year's dinner boasted an attendance of 800 people dining in the hockey rink and featured slick video recaps and top-notch MC comedian, James P. Connolly '88. Thanks to the Varsity Club for pulling together a memorable, fun sendoff event for our letterwinners.  

We will also miss the Beltrame family. Sebastian is moving out west to work in consulting and is taking a month-long trip through Asia with his roommates before he starts life in the real world!

Sebastian pictured with his family whooping it up during graduation week (From left to right: Lorenzo, Arianna, Kim and Sebi)

Reunion Tennis Event

On graduation weekend we welcomed back HMT alums from the classes of 1992, 2002, 2007 and 2012 for a jam-packed weekend of tennis and other events. We hosted a hit-around on Saturday morning for all the reunion classes and got to see some classic strokes on display. These events are a great chance to re-connect with teammates and meet other members of the HMT family - so don't miss out when it is your reunion year. 

The 25th Reunion featured the class of 1992—probably the greatest (and largest) HMT recruiting class in the modern era including Derek Brown, John Burke, Albert Chang, Tim Hartch, Petter Lattman, Lazlo Serester, Mike Shyjan, John Tolmie, Joe Viduretta, and Mike Zimmerman. Imagine ten nationally ranked juniors arriving in Cambridge for the fall season and three All-Americans in one class (almost certainly the only class in Ivy League history with that distinction). Talk about intimidating! It was great having some these guys back on campus. Don't be strangers!

Three of the members of the amazing '92 gang: Lazlo Serester (sporting the Pony gear!), Fishy, Derek Brown and Tim Hartch. Peter Lattman arrived just after this photo was taken. 

There was also a great turnout with the 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th reunions. The 5th reunion had the royal flush of Alistair Felton, Jon Pearlman, Robertson McAnulty and Davis Mangham. The 10th reunion saw Gideon Valkin make the trip from England, Scott Denenberg and Shantanu Dhaka. The 15th had William Lee up from NYC and the 20th reunion boasted Stuart Murray and Mike Patterson. Thanks everyone who came out! 

Here is some of the gang from the reunion hit-around flanked by Fish and Rueb.  

Best from Boston,
Andrew and Dave 


Please don't include me in future emails.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

HMT News: End of Season Awards and Notes

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HMT News Update:

Now that the season is in the books and the banners are being updated, we hosted our annual end of year banquet to celebrate and thank everyone who is involved in making HMT such a special family. We do a lot of work to foster a culture of gratitude on the team and we certainly want to put that into practice by reaching out to all of you who made our season possible.  Thanks to our fans, housing families, alums, donors, parents and staff. So many people reached out to lend us a hand during the year. Dave and I are so grateful and humbled by your continued support. 

Caption: The Team holding some serious hardware after the banquet. 

Check out the season recap video for a great tribute to the team.  It has all the best moments from the year including the exciting finish at Penn as well as interviews with players and coaches.  

Harvard Women's Tennis also had amazing run to the Ivy Title and you can watch their recap video here.  Way to go HWT!  

End of Season Awards:  
Kenny Tao and Jean Thirouin have been voted as captains for the 2018 season. 
Most Improved Player Award: Samuel Beren and Jean Thirouin
Ned Weld Above and Beyond Award: Michael Peters and Grant Solomon 
Most Valuable Player: Jean Thirouin 

Congrats to Kenny Tao and Brian Yeung for being named first team All-ivy. 

Musical Talents
This 2017 team was a very musical bunch. Most of the team plays an instrument and several members joined a bluegrass band this spring. At this moment, the team is having a serious fling with country music and our team anthem is the classic, "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver.  Listen/watch to the banquet sing-along led by freshmen Logan Weber.

Goodbye Seniors!

Seniors Sebastian Beltrame and Brian Yeung are pictured below.  We will miss you both! Sebastian is heading out to San Fransisco to join Simon Kucher, a consulting firm in the Bay Area while Brian is going to continue his tennis on the pro tour and will be representing Hong Kong in the Davis Cup. 



Best from Boston,
Andrew and Dave


Please don't include me in future emails.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

HMT News: Ivy Champs! Crimson downs Tigers and Quakers in final weekend

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Dear Crimson Friends and Family,

Heading into the final Ivy weekend, HMT needed to notch wins against both Princeton and Penn to grab a share of the Ivy Title. To set the stage, both teams had beaten us earlier in the year at ECACs. 

Against Princeton, the weather turned wet and we went down into the dungeon of Jadwin on their lightning fast courts. Despite a long warm-up, we could barely make a return for the first few games in doubles. We were late on everything. The home team had a decided advantage. But our doubles acumen once again proved pivotal. Morrow and Weber a.k.a. "the gnats" swarmed all over the net to give us one of the doubles matches at #3. Our #1 tandem of Brian Yeung and Kenny Tao would earn us the doubles win with their forceful play and fast hands.

With the doubles point in hand, we settled in for a long singles slog. Princeton would prove too tough at the top of the line-up garnering wins at #1 and #2. Kenny Tao would lose his first Ivy match to an inspired senior Alex Day at the second position. Sebastian Beltrame would lose a tough three-setter to their stalwart senior Tom Colautti at #1 singles. Fortunately, the middle of the line-up would hold steady. Jean Thirouin locked down the #3 position in straight sets with his patient and tactical play and Andy Zhou would also win in straights at #5 playing a more inspired, aggressive brand of tennis. With Princeton nabbing the #6 spot, the entire match came down to Brian Yeung at #4. Brian had won the first set going away 6-1 by serving and volleying and pressuring his Tiger opponent to hit passing shot after passing shot from his weaker one-handed wing. After dropping a sloppy second set, Brian would storm back with his aggressive style and get up a break of serve. With some nifty returns of his own, Brian would break serve to clinch the victory and send the small but vocal Crimson crowd into a frenzy.  

A special thanks to the alums who came out to Princeton and stuck it out in Jadwin - Marshall Burroughs '94 with his daughter, as well as Mac McAnulty '14 and Henry Steer '15. And Steve Dittmann '71 - who also came to the Penn match! Thanks for all your support. 

On the final day of the season, we had our first beautiful spring day (no wind, no rain, no clouds) to face the Penn Quakers. This match has developed into a fierce rivalry with some fantastic play from both teams. In the earlier contest in February, the Quakers edged us in a four-hour epic battle. This time, too, the match would have a razor-thin margin. And like last time, the doubles point would go to Penn putting us in a big 1-0 hole. Where were we going to find four singles points?

The front three courts featuring the #1, #3 and #5 positions would all go in quick straight set matches. Penn grabbed #1 singles while Jean Thirouin at #3 saved his best tennis of the season with an inspired 6-1, 6-0 performance against a hard serving Penn foe. Jean finished the season with a remarkable 16-4 record in singles and was the anchor of the singles line-up. Andy Zhou would also race out to victory at #5 winning 6-2, 6-2. Andy made real strides by returning to his aggressive style of play with big first serves and attacking groundstroke game that often saw him finish points at the net. His courage was rewarded at the end of the season with two big wins on the weekend.  

On the other bank of courts, the matches were much tighter. Chris Morrow had upped his game and put together one of his better performances on the year to win 6-2, 6-3 at the #6 position. Chris had been struggling to find his game and this win was a direct result of his commitment to go after his opponent. Now up 3-2 in the overall match score, we needed one more victory to clinch the title. Brian Yeung was down a set and a break at #4. The match was looking like it would be tied at 3-3. With his Quaker opponent serving for the match up 5-4 in the second set, Brian unleashed a few lethal backhands and managed to break back and force a tiebreaker. This was an important momentum shift as it took some pressure off Kenny Tao at #2 to win it for the Crimson. Kenny was battling Josh Pompan (son of HMT legend Don Pompan '81). Josh has been a Crimson killer. He is an amazing competitor and has the uncanny knack of outsmarting his foes, including notching wins against most of our line-up. Kenny had won the first set in a nip-and-tuck tiebreaker and then pulled ahead in the second. Kenny's laser forehand and targeted serve would tilt the battle in his favor. Finally, Kenny would break for a 7-6, 6-2 victory clinching a share of the Ivy Title.  

Here is a video of the magical match point and the team storming the court! Pure joy. 

With a 6-1 record in the Ivy League, Harvard tied Cornell and Columbia for the league title. While is extremely rare to have a three-way tie, it also happened on the women's side as HWT captured a share of the title along with Cornell and Dartmouth. Congrats to Harvard Women's Tennis on their amazing season!  

Best from Boston,
Andrew and Dave 

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