National Champions! Eric Klawitter and C.J. Krimbill Win NCAA Doubles Title

Eric Klawitter and C.J. Krimbill become the first tennis national champions in school history. (photos by Jim Krimbill)
Eric Klawitter and C.J. Krimbill become the first tennis national champions in school history. (photos by Jim Krimbill)
CLAREMONT, Calif. – Case Western Reserve University senior Eric Klawitter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) and sophomore Christopher Krimbill (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) joined elite company on Saturday by winning the 2014 NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Doubles Championship at Biszantz Family Tennis Center.

Klawitter and Krimbill become just the 13th and 14th NCAA Champions in the 45-year history of CWRU Spartans athletics. The last CWRU student-athlete to win an NCAA Championship was track & field senior Obinna Nwanna in the 2010 decathlon.

"Huge thing we talk about is finishing stronger than you start," said Head Coach Todd Wojtkowski. "We just kept building and building and building. We take so much pride in our doubles at Case – it's like our backbone – and for us to win a national title in what we pride ourselves to be the best in. That's the first thing E. (Klawitter) said to me, this is what we do – doubles."

Entering today's competition, Klawitter and Krimbill had already advanced further than any individual singles or doubles qualifiers in program history.

"So far, the emotions haven't really set in yet," said Krimbill. "It was just a long weekend of tennis, but ya I'd say elated after all the work we put in this season. It was a great run for Klaw (Klawitter) in his senior year."

"Definitely feels good to go out on top," said Klawitter. "We kept getting better throughout the tournament, and that really helped us pull this thing out."

The duo started the day with a straight-set victory (6-2, 6-2) in the national semifinals against Jeremy Bush and Ross Putterman of University Athletic Association rival Washington University in St. Louis. Then in the NCAA Championship match, Klawitter and Krimbill triumphed in straight sets (6-3, 6-4) once again versus Timmy Berg and Pierre Planche of Bates College (Maine).

As a pair, Klawitter and Krimbill end the season at 24-5 overall.

"That was a team we lost to twice this year," said Klawitter of the tandem from Washington U. "One of the things we worked on heading into that match was our returns. Both Bush and Putterman have really good serves, and for us to break them as many times as we did, was huge. We just carried that momentum in the Bates match. Both of them (Berg and Planche) had big serves as well and could back it up with some big, big ground strokes. So, with that match, we had to be a little more patient, and I'm glad we were able to grind it out there in the second set."

Klawitter finishes his career as the program's all-time wins leader with 140 combined victories. The NCAA Championship run vaulted him past 2013 graduate Kyle Gerber's previous record of 139.

Today's performance puts an exclamation point the best season in program history. On Monday, the Spartans (17-8) became the first team from CWRU to play in the NCAA Championship Quarterfinals. In addition, senior Derek Reinbold (Carmel, Ind./Park Tudor) became the school's first-ever NCAA Elite 89 Award winner.

Klawitter and Krimbill's March to the NCAA Championship

Thursday, May 22

Eric Klawitter/CJ Krimbill (CWRU) def. Tyler Carey/Evans Charles (Mary Washington) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1

Friday, May 23

Eric Klawitter/CJ Krimbill (CWRU) def. Alex Johnston/Andrew Lebovitz (Middlebury) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)

Saturday, May 24

Eric Klawitter/CJ Krimbill (CWRU) def. Jeremy Bush/Ross Putterman (Washington-St. Louis) 6-2, 6-2

Eric Klawitter/CJ Krimbill (CWRU) def. Timmy Berg/Pierre Planche (Bates) 6-3, 6-4