Four of the Six Participating Teams Capture Titles at the 2nd Annual
ITA National Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis Championships
The 2nd annual ITA Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis Championships took place in conjunction with the ITA National Small College Championships, hosted by the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala., home to the world's largest public tennis facility. The 2009 event took place Oct. 16-18, featuring several of the nation's top collegiate varsity wheelchair players.
The draw format included Tier I singles, Tier II singles, Women’s Singles and Doubles with players from six participating schools: Arizona, Auburn, Central Texas College, Grand Valley State, MIT and UT-Arlington.
Tournament Director Jeanie Peabody explains, “Looking to the future we hope to have more individual players representing their schools and universities. However, players can also participate individually without a whole team attending the event. Anyone can play, even if you are only taking one course.”
The Tier I singles draw featured a new face with a lot of hype. MIT’s Marcus Causton entered the tournament as the field’s No. 1 seed and showed everyone why he was deserving of both the hype and the top seed, running away with the title, while not dropping a single set in his matches.
“My key to victory was consistency and keeping the ball in court,” said Causton. “The facility was
great and the tournament was very well organized. I also think it was a great opportunity being able to watch the able-bodied players matches as well.”
The women’s singles draw pitted Jess Sporte of Grand Valley State against Arizona’s Dana Mathewson. Unfortunately, Mathewson severely injured her hand in her first match in the Tier II Singles while up a set and was unable to participate throughout the rest of the tournament, thus giving Sporte the default victory.
Since Matthewson had to withdraw, the Tier II division came down to a couple of Texas student-athletes: James Patin of UT-Arlington and D.W. Green of Central Texas College. The two split the first two sets, each claiming a 7-5 set win before Patin stepped up to capture the title with a 6-3 victory in the third set.
“After my first ever wheelchair match, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about wheelchair tennis,” said Patin. “About 10 matches later, I am realizing just how much I could really improve my game.”
The final wheelchair draw to complete today was doubles and it ended in an exciting yet controversial fashion. A three-way tie in a round-robin format left players, coaches, and fans waiting intensely as the matches scores were being calculated as determined by a percentage of matches played and matches won. This USTA-instated policy was enough to give UT-Arlington the win as they were the only team to play every match without a walkover win.
For the second year in a row, Arizona’s Noah Yablong would hoist a trophy, following up last year's championship performance as finalists. The match that would ultimately decide the champion was played on a cold Friday night, where Yablong and partner Matt Farmen were able to outlast Causton and Auburn’s Jaren Rehm in tie-breaking 9-8  victory.
“This event was extremely successful and a definite crowd-pleaser,” said Peabody. “Everyone involved with put putting together this event, including the coaches, players and the staff have been absolutely wonderful. We have been so impressed with community, the facility and the accessibility and would like to give a big thanks to Tournament Director Scott Novak and everyone for helping make this event a success.”
For complete results and event information, visit www.itatennis.com.