By David Parker
The men and women of Olivet’s tennis teams finished their fall seasons strong. After wins for both teams at Cornerstone University (Mich.) Sept. 7, their triumphs culminated at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Small College East Central Regional Championships in Lebanon, Ill. the weekend of Sept. 30.
The men earned a first place finish in singles play (Julian Kurz) and first in doubles (junior Diego Gonsalvez and senior Sebastian Esquetini).
The women also reigned supreme as sophomore Aziza Butoyi won the singles title and Butoyi teamed up with junior Aurelie Hascoet to earn first in doubles.
Other players with strong finishes include junior Landon Williams, who was defeated by Kurz in the final of the men’s singles bracket. The first place winners at regionals went on to play at the ITA National Small College Championships Oct. 13 to 15 in Mobile, Ala.
Though he was happy with the teams’ showing, Gibbs said that he looked beyond the players who qualified for nationals.
“It’s too narrow to look at just the players who won. I applaud the [ITA Nationals] qualifiers, but I also look at everyone’s progress.”
In the national tournament, both Kurz in singles and Gonsalvez and Esquetini in doubles finished seventh in their respective tournaments.
As for the ladies, Butoyi and Hascoet finished fifth in doubles, while Butoyi finished seventh in singles.
Though the team was not as successful at the national level as it was at regionals, Gibbs was satisfied with the results.
“I was pleased that everyone who competed in the tournament left Mobile with a win. Playing the best competition in the country helps us to see where we are currently,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs is looking forward to how the team’s current success will influence the future.
“Everybody is making great strides, and I feel like we’re laying a good foundation on which to build our spring season,” he said.