Courtesy Bates Sports Information
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Bates
College senior Will Boe-Wiegaard defeated Middlebury College senior
Brian Waldron in straight sets on Monday morning, 6-4, 6-3, to
capture the singles championship in the 2006 NCAA Division III
Men's Tennis Championships.
It is the first national title for Boe-Wiegaard (Georgetown, Conn.), a four-time All-America who was national runner-up in 2005.
Boe-Wiegaard becomes the first Bates man to win an NCAA championship since 2003. He is also Bates' first NCAA champion in any sport outside of track and field.
"It hasn't really hit me yet, but I know this is a dream come true,"
Boe-Wiegaard said on the telephone following his final collegiate victory. "I actually have mixed emotions, because I can't believe it's over."
Boe-Wiegaard ends his senior season with a 25-6 record in singles play. He was unseeded in the 32-player Singles Championship when it began, but en route to the championship he defeated the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 8 seeds -- Matt Seeberger of UC-Santa Clara, Waldron and MIT senior Evan Tindell, respectively -- all of whom had beaten Boe-Wiegaard in their previous meetings, as had Middlebury senior Nate Edmunds, whom Boe-Wiegaard ousted in the semifinals.
To win the title, Boe-Wiegaard played five singles matches in a period of less than three days, along with two doubles matches with senior teammate Tristan Beach (Grand Rapids, Mich.). Boe-Wiegaard and Beach made it to the quarterfinals of the Doubles Championship.
Boe-Wiegaard first defeated Yoji Masuoka of Emory University, who had helped win the team championship for Emory the day before, 6-3, 6-3. "I made an adjustment and started feeling really good," said Boe-Wiegaard of the match.
Next up on Saturday was Seeberger, the two-time defending national champion, who had beaten Boe-Wiegaard in the national final the year before. This time, Boe-Wiegaard dropped the first set before reclaiming his groove in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
"That whole day just flew by," he said. "I was just really zoned in."
That feeling continued on Sunday, though Boe-Wiegaard admits he was nervous about facing MIT's Tindell, who had beaten him 6-3, 6-2 during the regular season. "I had lost to him pretty convincingly, and I know he had a boatload of confidence about facing me," he said. Boe-Wiegaard cruised in the first set, 6-1, but fell behind in the second set 3-0. He then broke serve twice, regaining confidence en route to losing the second set 6-4, which he carried into a 6-3 win in the third set.
Boe-Wiegaard went on to play Middlebury's Edmunds in the semifinals. The Middlebury senior had beaten Boe-Wiegaard in the ITA tournament semifinals in the fall. "He's a really consistent player, so he's very dangerous," said Boe-Wiegaard. "He's not going to make mistakes, so you can't, either. But I felt so good, and I didn't feel at any point that I would lose." Boe-Wiegaard cruised into the finals with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Edmunds.
His Monday morning finals opponent, Waldron, is no fun to play against.
"He can fire a 135-mph serve down
your throat, or just crank forehands by you, left and right," said
Boe-Wiegaard. Plus, rising early in the morning for the biggest
match of his life presented its own challenges.
"Waking up got worse and worse every day. I was walking around without bending my knees this morning. But after that first game, you feel fine.
The adrenaline just takes over."
Boe-Wiegaard returned to his groove against Waldron in his 6-4, 6-3 victory. He won one game point by diving for a volley that dropped just over the net, though he never saw the ball land. "I heard the umpire say 'Game, Boe-Wiegaard', and I just said to myself, 'Sweet.'
"I couldn't imagine my college career ending so perfectly," Boe-Wiegaard said. "I don't even know how to feel, because it's all new to me."