ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
That is the most accurate way to describe freshman James Blake's performance this weekend at the NCAA Region One Tennis Championships.
Blake went undefeated in two singles and two doubles matches to lead Harvard to its third consecutive Region One title. More impressively, the rookie dropped only two games in singles play against strong competition.
Blake kicked off his thrashings on Saturday when he teamed with junior Kunj Majmudar at No. 1 doubles to defeat Penn State's top team, 8-3. Shortly thereafter Blake showed why he is currently ranked No. 20 in the nation, crushing the Nittany Lions' Mike Griesser, 6-0, 6-0, in just over an hour.
Harvard then marched into the finals on Sunday to face a hot Virginia Tech squad that entered the day on a six-match winning streak. Blake and Majmudar once again took the top doubles match, 8-5, although the Crimson dropped the next two matches and lost the doubles point.
But Blake did not let his squad trail for long. Facing the Hokies' Aaron Marchetti--the No. 17 player in the country--Blake nearly duplicated his feat from the previous day, posting a convincing 6-0, 6-2 victory. Blake is now 36-4 on the year, and Harvard's 4-3 victory over Virginia Tech--its 15th consecutive win--earns the Crimson a trip to the 16-team NCAA Championships to be held May 23-26 in Athens, Ga.
Blake also received some well-deserved recognition for his outstanding season before the weekend. Blake was named EITA Rookie of the Year, earned a unanimous selection to the All-EITA First Singles Team and was honored with a spot on the All-EITA Second Doubles Team.
Blake was 7-1 in the EITA this season. He will participate in the NCAA Singles Tournament in Athens on May 27-31.
The Harvard Crimson congratulates Blake for his dominant performance at Regionals and his phenomenal freshman campaign, and we wish Blake and the rest of the men's tennis team good luck at the NCAA Championships.