Once again the Caltech men's tennis squad will face a formidable schedule. The Beavers are prepared with a strong set of returning players and armed with solid first-year players to help bolster their chances for a successful season in 2013.
Caltech is scheduled to play eight teams currently ranked in the nation's preseason top 30. In addition, the SCIAC boasts five ranked among the country's best.
"I'm very excited with the work ethic in practice," said head coach Mandy Gamble. "The team is building confidence and is focused on extending rallies by decreasing unforced errors."
Leading the group of returning players will be a trio of individuals who competed against some of the nation's best last season. Devashish Joshi played all but one match as they No. 1 player in 2012. The junior will, once again, be called upon to lead the Beavers, both as their top seed and one of the team captains. His experience playing some of California's best tennis players will make him a great asset on and off the court.
Luka Mernik has been a stalwart in the Beavers line-up since arriving on-campus two years ago. The junior has played in 33 of a possible 34 matches. Mernik has never played lower than the No. 3 singles position and provides a wealth of experience to the squad.
Amol Kamat will also provide stability to the line-up this year. He asserted himself into the varsity line-up on nine occasions last season and will, once again, see significant action in the middle single positions.
After the conclusion of the Caltech basketball season, Alex Runkel will join the singles rotation, as well. The senior played mostly at the No. 5 slot last season. With a powerful serve, Runkel has the ability to control the point against almost any opponent.
"The senior leadership is the best it has ever been," Gamble said.
The Beavers boast a large freshman class, this year. These players, all skilled in their own right, will soon be a force to be reckoned with as they gain NCAA experience over the next few seasons.
During preseason practice Rushikesh Joshi asserted himself against the returning players and will see significant playing time as one of the Beavers top three singles players. However, some freshman, like Ishan Mehta and Alex Henny, have already asserted themselves against the returning players during preseason and could see early playing time. A final first-year player to keep an eye on is Dylan Schulz. He placed third and second in the Missouri High School championships his junior and senior year respectively.