Men's Tennis wins GPAC regular season title for first time since 1980
The last time the Doane men’s tennis team won the GPAC regular season championship, none of the current players on Doane’s tennis team were born. Or even close to being born.
It’s been 39 years since the Tigers won the GPAC regular season championship, but that drought ended earlier this week as Doane shared the conference title with Hastings College and Midland University. Doane, Hastings, and Midland all sit at 5-1 in conference play but the Tigers own the tiebreaker, meaning Doane will be the 1 seed at the GPAC Conference Championship beginning today in Fremont.
Doane owns a 12-4 record on the season and are led by seniors Grayson McCartney ’19, Ignacio Morrell ’19, Arcane Boles ’19, and Alejandro Benitez ’19.
Seth, Harris, Head Coach of the Men’s Tennis team, is in his third year with the Tigers and says the seniors have had a big impact on the team’s success this year.
“We have gotten three years to work with this group and develop them into great players,” he said. “They have been instrumental in changing the culture of the program as well. When they bought in to what we were telling them as new coaches, they put us on the path to this championship.”
McCartney and Jorge Chevez ’22 have the top singles records at 12-3 and 10-1, respectively. Chevez and McCartney are 7-0 in doubles play and McCartney and Morell are 7-2 as a doubles team.
Morell says winning the GPAC Championship for the first time in nearly 40 years at Doane is rewarding knowing the ups and downs the program has been through, and also as an acknowledgement that the team is capable of doing what the program in the 70s did, winning eight consecutive conference championships from 1973-1980.
“We have been working extremely hard for this, not only this year but in previous seasons too,” Morell said. “We had some tough losses in the past that fueled our desire of winning this conference championship and it was time for the hard work to pay off. I believe the mindset we have as a team is the best we’ve ever had.”
Harris adds, “This team is very close. Tennis is an individual sport, but college tennis is a team sport, and sometimes it can be hard for tennis players to buy into the team approach. These guys have been all about the whole team this year. I never saw a player moping after they lost a match, they would be on another teammates court cheering them on.”
The GPAC Tennis Tournament is being played at the Fremont High School tennis courts, hosted by Midland University. Doane received a first-round bye as the one seed and is set to take on the winner of Concordia/Morningside Friday afternoon. If the Tigers win that match, they will advance to the championship match at 10:00am on Saturday.
The winner of the GPAC tournament will receive a bid to compete in the NAIA National Tournament May 14-18 in Mobile, Alabama.