Just as winter begins to let up on Cambridge and the rest of the Northeast, the Harvard men's tennis team has headed south to the Blue-Gray Classic in Montgomery, Alabama.
The Crimson (8-2) will carry its No. 16 national ranking into a tournament which features six other schools ranked in the Top 30 among the sixteen-team field.
The team will luckily avoid these tougher sides in the first round when it faces No. 55 Boise State (3-7) today.
The Crimson has won its last three matches, and before its losses to No. 4 Mississippi and No. 12 Tennessee in the middle of February it had gone undefeated in match play in its first six meetings.
Last weekend at Old Dominion the Crimson won a hard-fought 5-2 victory. In a highly uncharacteristic fashion, the Crimson dropped the doubles point to start off the match.
Harvard's No. 1 doubles team of sophomore James Blake and co-captain Kunj Majmudar, currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, dropped a close match to ODU's No. 1 team, 9-8 (7-5).
The Crimson's No. 2 team of co-captain Mike Passarella and sophomore Scott Clark also lost, 8-3.
The sole doubles win came from the No. 3 duo of junior John Doran and freshman Cillie Stewart, who beat the previously undefeated team of Johan Barras and Ollie Lundberg by a convincing 8-3 score.
The team then carried on as it has all year, picking up five of the six singles matches for its eighth win of the season.
With his nearly automatic 6-2, 6-3 win over ODU's No. 1 Daniel Anderssen, sophomore phenom Blake capped off another fine week in his collegiate career.
In its March 9 Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, Blake maintained the No. 1 singles position and was also named the ITA National Player of the Month for February.
Blake received the honor in October of last year.
Boise State is also entering the tournament on its own winning spurt.
In the finals of its own AirTouch Cellular Classic in Boise last weekend, the Broncos upset No. 49 Virginia Tech 4-3. The Broncos will have to bring this same sort of intensity if they have any chance of upsetting the higher-ranked Crimson.
The Blue-Gray Classic is recognized as one of them more competitive tournaments outside the various Nationals during the year. The Classic began in 1949 when a native Montgomerian invited top collegiate singles players and doubles teams to compete in a weekend tournament.
M. Tennis Awaits Foe in NCAA Regional TodayThe team may be without the services of co-captain Tom Blake this weekend, but it will probably take a lot
Men's Tennis Wins Second Straight NCAA Regional"I said `This gives me a chance to be a hero,' but I was joking, I didn't really think it
ATHLETE OF THE WEEKDominant. That is the most accurate way to describe freshman James Blake's performance this weekend at the NCAA Region One
M. Tennis Tests No. 16 Ranking at Blue-GrayJust as winter begins to let up on Cambridge and the rest of the Northeast, the Harvard men's tennis team
Men's Tennis Off to the West CoastThe Harvard men's tennis team escapes to warmer climates for the second straight weekend as it travels to the West
No. 16 M. Tennis Breaks Pepperdine JinxMost Harvard students left campus last weekend for points south and west for Spring Break in an attempt to escape