Men’s tennis doubles team Luke Tercek ’18 and Grant Urken ’19 performed spectacularly well at the ITA-Oracle Cup in Rome, Georgia last Saturday. Tercek and Urken soundly defeated duos from Emory and Skidmore before falling to Tyler Raclin and Jeremy Yuan of Chicago in the finals. After finishing fourth in last year’s Cup, this year’s second place finish marks Bowdoin’s best-ever performance by a doubles team at the ITA.
Before participating at the Oracle Cup, Urken and Tercek advanced to the ITA New England Regional Championship at Middlebury College, where they faced off and overcame tough opponents from Williams and Middlebury to win the championship.
Tercek and Urken’s victory at Regionals marks Bowdoin’s second consecutive win at the tournament. Last year, double’s team Kyle Wolfe ’18 and Jerry Jiang ’19 won regionals after defeating Middlebury in the finals.
“It feels really good,” said Tercek. “I think we had high expectations coming into the tournament. But you know, in the first couple rounds of the regionals, we knew that we were playing well. So we were confident, and we knew that we did go far. So I think that’s kind of what we expected. I think that both Grant and I are glad that we got a good result.”
Yet, despite the tougher competition, the team stayed calm, stuck to its strengths and focused on having fun.
“Grant and I are pretty close friends [and] I think that is an important part of our performance in the game,” said Tercek. “We have a lot of fun on the court, even if the stakes are high. It takes the pressure off and makes it enjoyable to be out there.”
Tercek and Urken’s experience at the ITA-Oracle Cup was also more challenging due to their separation from the team and their coach. Yet, even with this handicap, the two performed well.
“It was a little weird to not be with the team. Last year it was in Chattanooga, and the year before it was in Kalamazoo. I think that we’re used to going to these random locations as a team, but it was a little weird just going as Grant and I,” said Tercek. “So it was definitely a unique experience for me.”
The team’s strong performances during the fall season tournaments have been a good way to prepare for its main season in the spring.
“The ITA was our first out of practice tournament, so the team as a whole was very excited about playing opponents from other schools as opposed to each other. I think we were just sick of playing each other. I think that we were really excited to scout,” said Tercek.
The team’s showing conveys its strength as a whole. The team retained all of its players from last year, which has made expectations much higher. But even with these high expectations, the team is careful to set sober and attainable goals.
“We didn’t lose any guys coming into this year, and we gained some talented freshman so I think as a whole, our expectations are pretty high. But we also like to set small attainable goals as the season goes on. And I think that our priority right now is focusing on finishing fall season strong and looking towards the off-season,” said Tercek.