Bethany College women and men's tennis teams competed at the ITA Regional Tournament on Sept. 21 to 22 at Maize High School and Maize Middle School.
The men's team started the ITA tournament by sending all eight players entered through to the round of 32, and finished off the tournament with two Swedes playing each other for a spot in the National Tournament.
James Bragg, a senior from Sun City, Calif., and Michiel Van Den Bogaert, a sophomore from Haarlem, Netherlands, battled in a high-quality final, with Van Den Bogaert winning a 6-3, 7-5 decision over Bragg. Bragg was coming off back-to-back-to-back wins over the no. 1 player from Missouri Valley, the no. 1 player from Graceland and defending KCAC MVP, and teammate Marcelo Alecio. Bragg had been on court over 20 hours over the three days of tennis and made the finals in both singles and doubles with partner Alex Sandri in one of the most impressive efforts by a Swede in recent memory.
Van Den Bogaert will be the first men's singles representative from the KCAC in the ITA National Tournament on October 11 to 14 in Mobile, Ala. Last year, Alecio and Kane Olsen became the first to represent the KCAC at the ITA Nationals for doubles.
The women's competed in the A and B draws with five freshman playing in their first ITA tournament. Senior Monica Chapman and junior Kara Agamaite defeated a doubles team from Tabor College in the A draw, and Kittey Edwards made the finals of the B draw consolation singles draw.
There are eight regional tournaments across the country where only the winners advance to the ITA National Tournament. The winner of the National tournament competes against winners from D2, D3, and junior colleges. The winner then advances to the D1 National Tournament, which is unlike any other college sport.
Head Coach Vic Bateman says, "It was an amazing tournament for the Swedes. All eight players showed their depth and that they were capable of beating anyone out there. Then we had two of our own guys play each other at the top of their game in the final. They put on a great show and displayed the type of skill and effort that got them there."