VENTURA, Calif. (Apr. 29, 2018) – The Caltech men's team had a wildly successful weekend at the 118th Annual Ojai Valley Tournament, which concluded Friday with the men's doubles championship.
Freshman doubles pair James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) and Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) of the Caltech men's team also made their tournament's doubles championship despite entering Friday's match unseeded. The men first defeated Pacific University's second doubles team (8-5) before posting an identical result in the quarterfinal, scoring an upset over the second-seeded doubles team from Santa Cruz.
The men's team moved up to an all-time high 33rd in the national rankings this week, and the freshman duo's play in Ventura reflected that. Saturday's upset came over the region's fourth-seeded doubles team, providing the potential for further advancement for the Beavers' rookie tandem. Shanker and Wei capitalized on the momentum later that day, cruising to an 8-3 victory over the Barrow brothers of Lewis & Clark College and thus avenging a previous defeat to the Pioneers back in February. The duo eventually ran out of gas in Sunday's final, but not before pushing top-seeded Gordy and Parodi of SCIAC regular-season champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges to three sets, stealing a second-set tiebreaker to force the decisive third set.
Shanker and Wei also saw some success in the singles draw, with the seventh-seeded Wei winning his first round match while Shanker performed up to the potential of his fifth seed with an appearance in the quarterfinals. Rookie Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) also competed in the singles draw, but drew a daunting assignment in a first-round match against third-seeded Chad LeDuff of Santa Cruz. All of the Beavers' positive results from the weekend will be factored into the season's final ITA national singles and doubles rankings set to be released on May 31.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the men's team will now begin preparation for their SCIAC playoff match on the road against second-seeded and national No. 11 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.