Tennis takes on the ITA tournament

The Hamline tennis teams travelled to Saint Peter to compete in a regional tournament, taking home valuable experience and a couple of wins as well.


Sophomore Dom Warzecha played in the ITA bracket as the #2 doubles team along with sophomore Isaac Hultberg. The pair fell to a Bethel team in the first round.

Cathryn Salis, sports editor

Despite being a spring season sport, the men’s and women’s Hamline tennis teams just finished their first big tournament of the year. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwestern Regionals are hosted by different Division III schools in the midwest, and this year the host was Gustavus Adolphus College.

The tournament lasted two days for each team. The women’s team played the last weekend of September and the men’s team played the first weekend of October. 

In the tournament, there are two brackets for players to compete in. The ITA bracket is the more competitive of the two, and the men’s team had one singles player and two doubles teams in the ITA portion.

Sam Thompson, a senior who transferred to Hamline last year from Gustavus, played in the ITAs as a singles player. Unfortunately he dropped his match but he felt the experience was important nonetheless.

“We learn a lot from other people that, you know, have played at a higher level than us. Humbling for sure but it was fun,” Thompson said. 

One half of a doubles team that competed in the ITA portion, sophomore Dom Warzecha, felt similarly that the experience was, while not the most successful in terms of scoring, was able to achieve a better understanding of competition.

“I think it’s nice to just kind of get back into competing at that level again,” Warzcheca said. “And then for the freshmen we have for them to start… competing against better players… just to kind of warm them up from spring,” Warzecha said. 

The men’s team has been introducing three first-years to their team to play with them in the spring. 

In the second bracket, the Midwest Regionals, the women’s team was able to record some wins in both doubles and singles. Senior Taylor Hopkins competed in the A bracket and unfortunately fell in the second round to a UW-Eau Claire player. She commented on how few women’s players Hamline was able to bring to the tournament. 

“This year we’re quite small, just kind of barely squeaking past, and I’m the only senior graduating so if no one transfers, we’ll make it, we’ll have five at least and hopefully we’ll just add on,” Hopkins said.

The women’s tennis team at Hamline has been struggling with low numbers since the pandemic started. Currently, there are six players on the roster and three possible recruits for the following season, which would help to strengthen the numbers for the team. 

In the future, the women’s team would like to have the ability to not only send players to the ITA bracket but also to be successful against the competition in that environment. 

Sophomores Lily Vang and Taylor Vyskocil took home a victory in the consolation B doubles bracket and sophomore Jersi McAlpine won in the consolation B singles bracket. 

While the tournament allowed for spectators to watch, the hour drive to Gustavus was unappealing for many Hamline tennis fans and therefore there were not many spectators to support the team. 

However, this is not an issue only tennis is facing. All sports are feeling under supported by their peers and fan attendance is very low, a residual effect of the pandemic’s restrictions on spectators at sporting events.

“I’m on the SAAC board and we’re trying to get more people to go out and see some games, kind of increase that regular Hamline student-athletic student connection,” Hopkins said.

As the year continues, many athletes hope that the student population will start to attend games more regularly and help increase the feeling of  school spirit on campus as well as support their peers in competition. 

The tennis team is entering the off-season with the conclusion of the ITAs and will resume competition in the spring. 

“We all had pretty comprehensive exit interviews with the coach and I think we all have a pretty good idea of what we need to work on in the offseason,” Thompson said. “I think we’re ready to get that work in and have a pretty successful spring season.”