UW returns home for regional championships

Junior Kyle McMorrow leads a young UW team in many of its players’ first tournament of the season. Photo by Sports

Two weeks after the UW men’s tennis team kicked off its season at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American Championships, the Huskies are back on the tournament circuit. This time, though, they have numbers.

Only two Huskies — junior Kyle McMorrow and freshman Emmett Egger — competed in the ITA All-American Championships, but in this weekend’s ITA Northwest Regional Championships, seven Huskies are taking to the courts at the Nordstrom Tennis Center as the UW hosts the region’s best players today through Tuesday.

Along with Egger, who is one of eight No. 9 seeds in the tournament, Redshirt freshman Nicholas Kamisar and true freshman Jeff Hawke complete the UW’s trio of newcomers. No. 2 seed McMorrow leads the Huskies while senior Matt Stith, junior Marton Bots, and sophomore Max Manthou will be starting their seasons this weekend in the singles draw, only. The Huskies were hoping for eight players in the draw, but senior Skyler Tateishi is still recovering from shoulder surgery last season.

The Northwest Region has schools from Washington, Oregon, and northern California, which means the UW will get a look at Pac-12 rivals California, Stanford, and Oregon. But the season is still too young to think about having any competitive edge over in-conference foes for the spring.

“We know them very well,” UW head coach Matt Anger said. “But it’s still so early in the season, especially for our freshmen. They have only been here for not quite a month. Everything’s still very new, so I’m just worried about our own guys.”

While the season may still be young, that doesn’t mean there aren’t high stakes. Winners of the singles and doubles draws will earn automatic berths to the National Indoor Championships next month, which has a 32-man draw that is notoriously difficult to qualify for with an at-large bid.

Anger will be paying close attention to the UW’s three freshmen in the tournament — Egger, Hawke, and Kamisar. Egger, who hails from Issaquah, Wash., will be making his home collegiate debut after playing his first matches as a Husky in Tulsa, Okla., earlier this month. Hawke and Kamisar will be seeing their first collegiate match play, but Kamisar’s debut has been a long time coming.

“I’m really happy for him,” Anger said of the redshirt freshman. “He’s paid his dues. He’s been practicing and improving, and [today] will be the beginning of the reward for his hard work.”

In the doubles bracket, McMorrow and Egger — who lost in the first round of doubles qualifying in the All-American Championships — have the top seed. Hawke and Manthou will also play doubles together, while Stith and Kamisar team up.

Although the ITA Northwest Regional Championships remains an individual event, having almost the entire team competing turns the tournament into a bit of a team affair. But Anger is hoping that it doesn’t turn into too much of a team effort.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a team situation,” Anger said. “I know they’ll probably want to watch their teammates, but I’ll have to tell them that they should probably go back to their place, put their feet up, and grab a meal to get ready for their own match.”

Reach reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen at sports@dailyuw.com or on Twitter @thucnhi21.

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