NCAA Division III: Tufts’ Elle Christensen wins singles and doubles, Middlebury’s Morris men’s champion
At the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, Middlebury’s second-seeded senior Stan Morris and Tuft’s unseeded freshman Elle Christensen won the 2022 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Championships.
Christensen earned back-to-back titles yesterday. After winning singles and enduring a weather delay, she and Tufts teammate Tilly Rigby dominated the doubles tournament.
“One point at a time was kind of how I approached it,” the California native said after her individual win.
She added: “I had a lot of really rough matches, especially since I [had doubles]. So I was playing three matches a day.”
In her singles final, Christensen faced a tough opponent in Pomona-Pitzer’s fourth-seeded Angie Zhou. But Christensen – who had booted the University of Chicago’s top-seeded Sylwia Mikos in the quarterfinals – defeated the fellow freshman in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5.
Following a lightning postponement ahead of their doubles match, Christensen and Rigby squared off against Williams’ Erica Ekstrand and Yuu Ishikawa.
They rolled past their competitors, 6-1, 6-3.
“[My coach] is the reason I won, bringing me water,” Christensen said, citing humid conditions. “I don’t think I would have made it.”
In men's singles, Morris fought a tight three-setter against John Hopkins’ unseeded graduate student, Vishnu Joshi.
Losing the opener 7-5, Morris reversed the set score in the second and widened the gap in the third, ultimately winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.
“Meant a lot to get it done as a senior, it’s my last swing of tennis. Really, just an incredible feeling to get it over the line,” Morris said.
Morris credited associate head coach Bob Hansen for helping him with the victory.
Hansen will leave Middlebury after 11 years with their tennis program.
“Kind of the outgoing senior class,” said Morris, who missed his graduation ceremony to compete in the final.
Morris and Christensen both represented schools from the New England Small College Athletic Conference, and were also childhood friends from Los Angeles.
Case Western Reserve's second-seeded pair, junior James Hopper and graduate student Jonathan Powell, won the men's doubles competition national title over Emory's Andrew Esses and Nolan Shah, 6-4, 6-1.