CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2017) – Freshmen Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) and James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) began their Caltech Tennis careers with two historic victories in the men's doubles consolation round at the ITA Regional Competition this weekend. The wins marked Caltech's first and second doubles victory in the history of the men's tennis program's participation at ITA Regionals on Friday and Saturday.
The duo scored the first victory over the duo of Noah Morrow and Adrian Nilsson-Redman of the University of Redlands, 8-5. Shanker and Wei kept things going in the second round when they edged top pair Noah Forman and Sam Hum from Colorado College, 9-7, before dropping their semi-final consolation match to the second Redlands duo of Krimball and Libao. Shanker and Wei initially fell to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges' third doubles team in the main draw, enduring a 20-minute game on the Sagehens' serve.
Junior Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) had the most success in the main singles draw, winning his first match against Chapman University's Terry Kang, 6-1, 6-3. Nguyen went on to fall in the second round to Yahn Gawrit of Cal Lutheran, a recent transfer from DI Depaul University.
Shanker, the eighth-seeded player in the singles draw took on Jake Williams of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, who played third doubles for the Stags in the national championship tournament last year. While Shanker came up shy of a victory against one of CMS' top recruits from a year ago, he did take four games from the Stag in the second set. Shanker then went on to defeat California Lutheran University's Sebastien Ariza, 6-1, 6-0 in the first consolation match before falling to No. 9 Jake Berber from CMS. Both opponents finished 2017 as their respective teams' sixth-ranked singles players. Wei, meanwhile played Robert Liu, another top CMS recruit and only dropped his serve once in the first set and pushed his opponent to a tiebreaker in the second set. Wei's performance established himself as one player to watch in the season to come.
The Beavers were notably without three starters from last year's five-win lineup.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers open the 2018 season at home vs. Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday, Feb. 10.