KALAMAZOO, Mich. (May 24, 2019) – Sophomore Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) became the owner of the first NCAA singles win in Caltech history on Friday at the NCAA Division III Individual Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. Shanker's 6-2, 6-3 first-round victory over Vishnu Joshi of Johns Hopkins University also qualifies him for All-American status as a singles player.
The sophomore started out strong in Friday's initial match with Joshi, opening the first set to a 3-0 lead. Shanker then went on to win the final four games of the second set in the face of a 2-3 deficit to lock up the Beavers' historic first singles victory on the NCAA stage. Shanker went on to face off with third-seeded Jonathon Jemison of Emory University in the Round of 16. Caltech's top singles player led early in the first set and held a brief lead midway through the second set against the nation's third-ranked player. With his back against the wall, Shanker saved a pair of match points before ultimately falling short against Jemison, 6-2, 6-4.
Shanker closed the 2019 season on a high note, the architect of the most prolific singles season in program history. The sophomore's 15 regular season wins tied the single-season record set by teammate and doubles partner James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) back in 2018 and his slew of key singles wins over the course of the season will likely yield the team's highest ranking ever for an individual in the upcoming set of ITA rankings.