Whit Men's Tennis Team Takes Giant Jump Up National Rankings

News Release Date:
Thursday, March 1, 2012



WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College men's tennis team, after knocking off four traditional powers in February, has taken a giant jump up the NCAA Division III national rankings.

Whitman, which held a No. 29 ranking at the end of last semester, jumped all the way to No. 8 in updated rankings released today by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Photo Top Page

 That's Conor Holton-Burke, waiting on a backhand

 Greg Lehman photos

It is Whitman's highest national ranking in the long tenure of coach Jeff Northam, now in his 19th season at the helm.

"It's amazing to crack the top eight," Northam says.

The previous highwater mark for one of Northam's teams came during the 2006-07 season, when Whitman rose to No. 12 in national rankings behind a senior class led by Phakun Mam, Steven Ly and Robbie Munday.

Jeff Northam

But creeping into the Top 10 is nothing new for Northam, a 1988 graduate who shared in three Northwest Conference titles during his Whitman playing days. That group of players rose as high as No. 2 in the NCAA DIII national rankings.

Northam and his teammates look back on a number of accomplishments, including a 1987 victory over the University of Washington. That marked the first time in two decades that the Huskies had lost to a Pacific Northwest college or university of any size. 

Whitman squad kicked off its 2012 spring season in impressive fashion last month by pinning a 6-3 setback on UC-Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs held a No. 6 national ranking at the time.

One weekend later Whitman made a quick East Coast swing, beating No. 22 Mary Washington and No. 23 Rhodes, in addition to Kalamazoo, which wasn't ranked but was coming off a close 5-4 loss to No. 11 Chicago.

The victory over Santa Cruz, which came before a cheering throng of partisan fans at the Bratton Tennis Center, was the start of a winning streak that now stands at seven.

With its No. 8 national ranking, Whitman trails only Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) among teams in the West Region. CMS is No. 4 while UC-Santa Cruz has slipped to No. 9.

Whitman, the four-time defending NWC champion, is off to a 3-0 start in league play this spring. That stretches its six-year regular season winning streak against conference foes to 81.

After taking this weekend off, Whitman heads to western Oregon March 10-12 to play five NWC matches in three days. It then spends part of its Spring Break in southern California, playing Whittier, Rochester (New York) and No. 18 Trinity (Connecticut) from March 16-18.

The matches against Rochester and Trinity will be neutral-court battles.

At the head of Whitman's deep roster this spring are seniors Conor Holton-Burke and Adriel Borshansky, juniors Jeff Tolman, Sam Sadeghi and Matt Tesmond, and super sophomore Andrew La Cava, who at the moment holds a No. 7 national ranking in singles.

Super sophomore Andrew La Cava


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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu