GLENDALE, Calif. (Apr. 13, 2018) – Freshman James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) pulled through for another singles victory, this one to tie the program single-season wins record, as the Caltech men's tennis team defeated Occidental College, 6-3 at Scholl Canyon on Friday afternoon. Along with freshman doubles partner Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow), Wei also notched a hard fought 8-3 victory at first doubles to tie the Pathireddy brothers' single-season doubles wins record set back in 2015.
Wei, whose only loss came on February 17th at Lewis & Clark Colleges, won at second singles, 6-2, 6-3, to help the Beavers secure a key win over the rival Tigers. The rookie is undefeated against SCIAC competition and has now guaranteed himself at least a share of the program record for single-season singles wins. Wei's 14 wins have brought him even with junior teammate Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell), who set the record as a freshman in 2016.
Caltech got off to a good start by taking a 2-1 advantage from doubles action into the singles matches. The Beavers had particularly good success in the bottom three singles matches, which were also the three fastest matches to finish. Freshman Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) got his first run at fourth singles and clinched the match for Caltech when he won, 6-1, 6-2. Sophomore Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine), meanwhile stepped in at fifth singles and responded with a 6-0, 6-0 victory in his own right, the fastest match to finish on the day. Sophomore Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Crystal Springs) also picked up a routine win, 6-1, 6-2 at sixth singles.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will finish up the 2018 regular season at home, first against California Lutheran University on Friday Apr. 20, then on the very next day against first-place No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. Caltech is currently tied with No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for second in the SCIAC and can clinch a spot in the conference playoffs with a win over the Kingsmen next Friday, or with Cal Lutheran and Whittier College defeats this weekend, whichever happens first.