CMS Men's Tennis Ranked No. 5 in Preseason Poll
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's tennis team earned the No. 5 spot in the NCAA Division III preseason poll from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the organization announced today.
CMS finished the 2022 season with a No. 5 ranking after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals before a tight 5-3 defeat to Tufts, which is ranked No. 4 in the preseason poll. Chicago, which earned the national title, is ranked No. 1, while Case Western is second and Middlebury is third.
Rounding out the top 10 behind CMS in fifth is Williams in sixth, WashU in seventh, followed by NC Wesleyan, Pomona-Pitzer and Emory.
The Stags lost three of their top four singles players from a year ago, including fifth-year seniors Robert Liu and Jack Katzman, who finished the year in the No. 1 and No. 4 spots, respectively. However, there is plenty of reason for optimism with the players returning and the immediate impact of the newcomers in the fall.
Matthew Robinson (22-2) and Chistopher Li (25-6) return to the singles ladder after spectacular debut seasons a year ago, with Robinson finishing the year at No. 3 and Li at No. 5. Robinson also became a key doubles player for CMS, and earned All-America honors with graduate transfer Christian Settles in the fall, who previously was an All-American doubles player at Trinity.
Advik Mareedu was the other key Stag newcomer in the fall, as he captured the national championship of the ITA Cup in singles, rolling to a 5-0 record at the ITA West Regionals without dropping a set, and then going 4-0 at nationals, including a three-set win in the finals. He joined CMS with high school teammate Warren Pham, with the duo potentially making for a four-year doubles team with the Stags.
Ian Freer also played near the top of the singles lineup last year before an injury reduced his role to doubles down the stretch. Freer studied abroad in the fall, and his healthy return to the lineup will make the Stags that much more potent.
Nathan Arimilli earned All-All America honors in doubles last year after a deep run in the fall, and could fill a similar role this year, while also potentially cracking the singles lineup. Senior Michael Hao (18-4) was in the singles lineup in the postseason last year in the No. 6 position, while senior Ian Habbestad (10-7), junior Daniel Blackman (6-1) and sophomore Morgan Schilling (10-4) will try to earn extended action this spring as well.
CMS begins the spring season against Hope International on Feb. 3, and opens Division III play with matches against Whittier and Brandeis on Feb. 19. The Stags will then head to the ITA Indoor Championships in Minnesota, where they will open against Pomona-Pitzer on Feb. 24.