Warriors win big at OUA tennis championships

Remember when the biggest Internet meme was about things longer than a certain reality star’s marriage? Well, the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) tennis season is definitely not one of those things.

The season came and went within a month, ending with the 2014 OUA Tennis Championships held at Western University, Oct. 3–5.

The Warriors rallied to place second in the men’s team standings with 12 points, behind the three-time reigning champions the Western Mustangs.

Individually, the Waterloo men posted amazing results headed by Vincent Chan who won the top flight singles championship gold against Montreal’s Colomban Bounine. John Chan won the third singles flight, defeating Montreal’s Andrew Beljaars.

Vincent and John also teamed up to take home the top doubles flight against Toronto’s Ivan Markovic and Cameron Chiang. Vincent Chan was named an All-Star based on his championship results.

Coach Pat Craton was pleased by the efforts of the men’s team over the championship weekend, especially considering that five of the nine men were rookies. However, physical fitness leading up to the championships and proper team match-ups were compromised due to the youth of the team and brevity of the season.

Although the season started in early September, the rookies had mandatory orientation meetings during the first two weeks. Despite practice being every evening Monday through Thursday, full team practices were rare because of orientation and academic night classes. It was tough to order and form compatible double teams, and the short competitive season did not help.

Going into the championships, coach Craton was optimistic despite the challenges. “At worst, I wanted the team to at least equal last year’s result of a third place finish. We did that and one better.

“Having come second, I’m not going to be too regretful. Results could have been better, but they [also] could have been worse.”

The team was no doubt ecstatic about the improved final team standing, but Craton added that she hopes they are not totally satisfied.

“At the very least, next year’s team should want to do as well as this year’s and be prepared to work hard to achieve it. If they are true competitors, they’ll want to go one step further.”

The 2014 OUA Tennis Championships marked the end for champion Vincent Chan. Chan started competing competitively at the age of six on the national and international level. He joined the Waterloo team in 2010 as a rookie and won the singles championship three of his five years as a Warrior. He also won the doubles title every year, earning the reputation as the man-to-beat.

When reflecting on his last season, he admits that he did not have much time to get back into peak form due to heavy schoolwork and the short season. But with his stellar record as one of the strongest performers in the OUA league, he was confident in his chances.

“I felt that I met my expectations for my individual results. What really surprised me was taking second place in team results. Everyone on the team stepped up and contributed to such a great result.

“My accomplishments the past few years have been unbelievable. Consistently improving team results from fifth place in 2010 to second in 2014 is an amazing accomplishment, and having great teammates is a reason for this success. As this is a very young team, going forward, I believe the team will be able to sustain the level of success from this year.”

Coach Craton shares the same sentiments as she looks forward to John Chan, 2013 OUA Rookie of the Year, and rookie Joe Zeng to continue the progress and achievements in the recent years. Zeng competed in the second singles flight and had his first loss of the season at the semi-finals at the championships.