Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season’s Greetings from Harvard Men’s Tennis: 2011 Fall Wrap Up

Season's Greetings from Harvard Men's Tennis: 2011 Fall Wrap Up
With the students now hunkering down for exams (yes, exams are before the Winter Break now!), we want to get you up-to-date with latest news from Harvard Tennis.
The season began on September 7th with the first official team practice where we welcomed five new freshmen to Harvard Tennis family – all of whom have already made some valuable contributions to our team. By now they can all find the COOP, do their laundry and sing the lyrics of "10,000 men of Harvard." Brandon Parker, Henry Steer, Shaun Chaudhuri, Alex Steinroder, and Denis Nguyen are fired up about playing as a team this spring. The Frosh have certainly pushed the rest of the guys to work harder and dig deeper. Our veteran senior captains, Alistair Felton and Davis Mangham, have shepherded the rookies and done an outstanding job passing along the values of Harvard Men's Tennis. We are grateful to have such strong leadership and feel that we have two extra coaches working on staff. They are extremely capable young men – who are still looking for work after college (hint, hint… drop us an email if you might have some leads for these future stars).
We had four events in our fall schedule. We wrote you about the Chowder Fest in late September, at which we hosted USC, Texas A&M and Michigan - top-tier tennis indeed! Our players saw how three-time defending national champs conducted themselves and how hard they competed. In mid-October we hitched up the wagons and made the long trek out to Ithaca for the Fall Regionals (formerly the Rolex) hosted by Cornell. It was not our best performance of the fall but served notice to everyone to keep working harder. Sophomore Casey MacMaster and Alistair Felton lost in the finals of the doubles to a strong Princeton duo of Matt Spindler and Matt Siow. Felton had won the Regionals the last two years with Andy Nguyen and was hoping to make it three straight. The big serving duo was broken in the first game with three return winners (the only time Casey was broken in the tournament) "and that made all the difference," to borrow a phrase from Robert Frost, in the short pro-set format, 8-6. In singles, senior Jonathan Pearlman got to the quarterfinals before falling to big serving Ivan Turudic of Penn, while Denis Nguyen lost in the round of 16s to Milos Hauk of St. John's.
Feeling they still hadn't proven themselves, the team worked hard to finish the fall on a strong note. In the Harvard Halloween Invite at Murr, four freshmen made it to the semifinals by beating players from Army, Amherst, Dartmouth, Tufts and Brown, as well as several of the Crimson upperclassmen. In the semis, Alex Steinroeder (Concord, MA) knocked off Henry Steer (Bernardsville, N.J.) while Denis Nguyen (Anaheim, CA) bested classmate Shaun Chaudhuri (Pleasanton, CA). Steinroeder got the better of Nguyen in the finals to take home the crown.
The fall competition ended with a trip to historic Williamsburg, VA to play in the Tribe Invite, hosted by William and Mary. We joined George Washington U. and UMBC (University Maryland-Baltimore County). It was a great weekend of tennis as everyone saw a lot of action. Highlights include both freshmen Denis Nguyen and Henry Steer going undefeated in singles, and Alex Steinroeder leaving with an impressive 3-1 singles mark playing in the top flight. Denis Nguyen and Andy Nguyen went undefeated in doubles while Felton and Steinroeder went 3-1 in doubles. We celebrated Josh Tchan's 20th birthday on the trip as the Crimson returned back to campus eager to work hard in the weight room! Here we are on the steps of the famous "Sunken Gardens" at W&M looking dapper.

During the fall, the team worked 4 days a week in the gym to improve their strength and conditioning. Tennis is becoming more and more a physical test and we have made sure we are ready to compete for several hours. Below is a photo of the boys about to run the "Dominator" test on the last day of workouts in Palmer-Dixon with drill sergeant Kurtis West! They are lined up on the old court three of Palmer-Dixon's previous incarnation as our Varsity tennis facility. The Dominators are a 5-10-15 yard shuttle run that must be finished in less than 13 seconds (with a twenty-five second break). The team benchmark is 20 though we are upping the ante to 25 for our first practice January 15th! Better be sure to train through the Holiday!

Big Country Casey MacMaster is in the center flanked by captains Mangham and Felton from left to right. McAnulty and Chaudhuri are on the edges.

We are extremely proud of the work this group has put in this fall. They set the tone of respect, camaraderie, effort and toughness and made that the standard of Harvard Tennis. They are not just clean fighters on the court but impressive young men with the promise to become future leaders. I hope everyone gets a chance to see us in action at some point in the spring. Here is a link to our spring schedule – our first dual match is a four team Kick-Off event Friday and Saturday, January 27th and 28th with Denver, Drake and DePaul. The regular season ends with our final Ivy League match against Dartmouth on Saturday, April 28th. The Ned Weld Spring Trip will take us back to La Jolla, CA from March 10-18. We'll compete against some outstanding teams in a team tournament hosted by San Diego and San Diego State March 15-17th.
Besides the on court results, we are proud to announce that Mac McAnulty, a senior English Concentrator, earned a special prize as one of only two winners of a prestigious, fully-funded, January Term trip to Jadavpur University, Kolkata in India. Also, our frosh Shaun Chaudhuri was asked by admissions to serve as a student blogger. You can follow Shaun Chaudhuri on his blog for Harvard Admissions. Shaun is also competing for the Harvard Chess Team and has made an impact on both this fall (a rare double letter winner!).
As always, we are grateful for your continuing support. We need your help to keep the tradition of Harvard Tennis firing on all cylinders. If you want to make a financial contribution you can click here on the "Make a Gift" tab.
We both wish you and your families a blessed Holiday Season. We thank you for your continuing support of our team.
Peace and joy,
Andrew and Dave

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