The national championships, scheduled for May 20-25 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, feature a highly competitive field of 256 players in singles and 128 teams in doubles. Approximately 45 to 50 schools from around the country will be represented.
Tournament rules will allow Shetty and Ullah to compete in singles as well as doubles.
Ullah, a 1995 graduate of Richland (Wash.) High School, and Shetty, who came to Whitman from Bombay, India, won three straight matches at the NCIC tournament to claim the doubles title. In the title match, Shetty and Ullah rebounded from a first-set loss to beat Pacific Lutheran's Paul Hemry and Erik Monik 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Their victory helped Whitman to a second-place finish in the team scoring. PLU won the conference team title with 25 points, followed by Whitman with 20 points. Another highlight for Whitman came in the No. 4 singles flight. Duc Nguyen, a Whitman senior and graduate of Hermiston (Ore.) High School, also won three straight matches to win that flight championship.
As flight champions, Shetty, Ullah and Nguyen earned spots on the all-conference team.
Ullah nearly gave Whitman another title in No. 2 singles. After winning his first two matches, he lost the title match in three sets to Pacific Lutheran's Matt Braund.
At No. 1 singles, Shetty rebounded from a tough opening-round loss to win his final two matches. Whitman's other entries in singles -- Bryan Oliver (Boise HS) at No. 3, Charlie Larson (Stadium HS, Tacoma) at No. 5, and Curtis Haynie (Hood River Valley HS) at No. 6 -- all won on Saturday to place third in their flights. All three are freshmen.
Oliver and Larson combined forces at No. 2 doubles and nearly earned Whitman a title in that flight. After winning their first two matches, Oliver-Larson lost their championship showdown by scores of 7-6, 7-5.
In No. 3 doubles, Nguyen and Haynie bounced back from an opening-day loss to win twice on Saturday and place fifth.
NW Conference doubles champions: Whitman's Haroon Ullah (left) and Akshay Shetty.