LEXINGTON, Va. – The Case Western Reserve University men's tennis team produced winners in all four singles flights and captured one-of-two doubles flights at the season-opening W&L Invitational hosted by Washington & Lee University on Saturday and Sunday, September 8-9 at Duchossois Tennis Center. Senior Kyle Gerber (Columbus, Ohio/St. Charles Preparatory) totaled five wins for the weekend to break the program's all-time wins record.
The Spartans ended last season with the No. 17 ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association national poll after qualifying an individual and a doubles tandem for the NCAA Championship Tournament.
Gerber, who entered his senior campaign with 93 combined wins in singles and doubles play, won the Flight A Singles title and teamed with junior John Healey (Columbia, Md./Atholton) for a runner-up performance in the Flight A Doubles Bracket. With five victories during the invitational, Gerber now has 98 for his career and passes Ben Sinder (2003-07) for the most in program history.
Competing in the top singles bracket, Gerber opened with a 6-4, 6-1 victory versus Rand Jackson of The University of the South (Tenn.). The senior then bested Hayden White of W&L in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-4) before sweeping (6-4, 6-2) Ross Silverberg of Franklin & Marshall College (Pa.) to claim the Flight A Championship.
"Kyle (Gerber) did some serious work this weekend," said fifth-year Head Coach Todd Wojtkowski. "He played like a true senior against very good competition. Hayden White from W&L was around the top 20 in the nation last year, and for Kyle to beat him shows that his game is at a high level very early on in the season."
In doubles action, Gerber and Healey started with an 8-1 victory versus Nolan Bacchieri and Doug Kaplan of Franklin & Marshall then advanced to the finals via an 8-4 decision against Rand Jackson and Sean Laughlin from Sewanee.
The other three Spartan singles titles came courtesy of junior Eric Klawitter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hershey) in the Flight B Bracket, freshman Santiago Guerra (Midland, Mich./Herbert Henry Dow) in C and Healey in D.
Klawitter swept all three of his opponents and won the bracket by scores of 6-4, 6-1 versus freshman teammate Christopher Krimbill (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain).
Guerra was 3-0 in his collegiate debut with his toughest match coming in the semifinals when he ousted Thomas Johnson of W&L in three sets (2-6, 7-5, 6-4).
"Santi (Santiago Guerra) had an amazing debut," noted Wojtkowski. "To win his first collegiate tournament, especially one of this caliber, is very impressive."
Healey swept all three of his opponents in the D Bracket, including freshman teammate Viswajit Simhadri (Saratoga, Calif./ Lynbrook) by scores of 6-1, 6-1 in the finals.
In Flight B Doubles play, Klawitter teamed with senior Nicolas Howe (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) for three wins. After winning their first two matches by identical 8-0 scores, Klawitter and Howe needed a tie-breaker to defeat Krimbill and sophomore Will Drougas (Roanoke, Va./Salem), 9-8 (2).
"We're very pleased with the way we performed this weekend," said Wojtkowski. "Winning five-of-six brackets against teams consistently ranked in the Top-30 gives us a great start to the year. Our fall season takes on incredible importance for both regional and national rankings, and we're excited to be competing against some of the best over the next few weeks."
The Spartans are back in action next weekend at the Kenyon College Invitational on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16 in Gambier, Ohio. The United States Tennis Association/ITA Central Region Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana follows on Sept. 22-24.