Otto & Oost Fall at ITA National Tourney

News Release Date:
Wednesday, October 15

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- For Whitman College tennis players Elise Otto and Katie Oost, a first-ever appearance at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., was all-too brief.

Otto, the Pacific Northwest regional singles champion, hit the courts Wednesday morning and dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to the Southwest champ, Claire Mesnil, a native of Avignon, France, who plays at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.

Otto and Oost, the PNW champs in doubles, then lost 6-3, 6-0 to Beth Launius and Michelle Hagler, two of the top players at the University of Texas-Tyler.

The NCAA Div. III  portion of tournament, which continues through Saturday, is taking place at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center.  

"Elise and Katie are obviously disappointed not to have won, but they played well against some very tough competition," first-year Whitman coach John Hein said. "This was a super learning experience for Elise and Katie, who won their regional tournament and then showed today that they can play with the nation's best.

"This also was a good first step in terms of building a national-calibre women's program at Whitman," Hein added. "Elise and Katie can share this experience with the rest of our team, and it's something we can all learn from."

Mesnil, Otto's opponent in singles, is a "very talented player with a huge forehand," Hein said. "There were a lot of close games, but whenever Elise got some momentum going, her opponent came up with huge shots. Elise stayed right with her at times, and it will be interesting to see how Mesnil does in the rest of the tournament. I think she has a chance to win it all." 

In doubles, Otto and Oost were even at 2-2 in the first set before their opponents got on a roll. "This match was probably a little closer than the score indicates, but it seems like the team from Texas-Tyler didn't miss a shot in the second set," Hein said. "They are a very good doubles team. They won their regional by beating three teams from Trinity, which has dominated women's tennis in that region for a long time."

Hein said his women's team can now turn its attention to next spring's Northwest Conference season. "Linfield has had a lock on women's tennis in recent, but Whitman could be one of four teams in the mix this year." 

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