LEWISTON, Maine -- Before late Thursday afternoon, the Bates men's tennis team knew one of its captains had essentially won the A Singles Flight of the annual Middlebury Invitational -- just not yet which one.
The prestigious title was settled on Bates' home court at Wallach Tennis Center, with senior Rob Crampton (Wilton, Conn.) edging senior Matt Bettles (Taunton, England) 7-5, 6-3.
Crampton and Bettles' singles play guaranteed Bates three flight titles out of a possible six at the season-opening tournament in Middlebury, Vt. The Bobcat teammates also won the A Doubles Flight, and sophomores Pierre Planche (Natick, Mass.) and Henry Lee (Sag Harbor, N.Y.) claimed the B Doubles Flight crown.
Crampton and Bettles were All-America doubles quarterfinalists in the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships, while Crampton reached the semifinals of the singles championship.
On Saturday morning, Bettles and Crampton opened the A Doubles Flight play with an 8-4 win over Siegel/Krems of Brandeis, then went on to oust Gusik/Freeman of Vassar 8-6. On Sunday afternoon, they resumed play with an 8-1 demolition of Parower/Welch of Middlebury. Their championship match victory was nearly as dominating, an 8-2 decision over Milo/Jordan of Brandeis.
Both Bates seniors went 3-0 in the A Singles Flight to set up their championship match. Crampton defeated Miles Ransom of Skidmore 6-7(4), 6-3 (10-4) in the Round of 16, then Ben Barad of Tufts 6-2 in the quarterfinals and finally, Alex Johnson of Middlebury 6-4, 4-6 (10-8) in Sunday afternoon’s semifinal. Bettles sliced through Steven Milo of Brandeis (6-4, 6-3) in the first round, Middlebury’s Jackson Frons in the quarterfinals (7-5, 7-6(5)) and Jay Glickman of Tufts 7-6(3), 6-1 in the semifinals.
Planche and Lee ran the table through first-round opponents Mountifield/Smolyer of Middlebury (8-4) on Saturday, Steerman/Ransom of Skidmore (8-1) in the quarterfinals on Sunday, followed by a 9-7 win over Blau/Westerfield of Tufts and, in the championship match, an 8-4 victory over Sanderson/Tong of Skidmore.
Other Bates highlights at the tournament included:
Junior Eric Ruta (Ridgewood, N.J.) advanced to the semifinals of the C Singles Flight. Ruta posted a 6-3, 0-6, 11-9 victory over Jonah Epstein of Skidmore, followed by a 6-0, 6-2 win over Daniel Cooper of Vassar. Eventual flight winner Ari Smolyer of Middlebury eliminated Ruta in the semifinals.
Senior Kyle DeSisto (Cohasset, Mass.) went 2-1 in the D Singles Flight, defeating Christian Lyon of Vassar 1-6, 6-3, 10-8 and Nick Tong of Skidmore 6-1, 7-6(3) before falling to Cam Smith of Trinity in the semifinals.
Planche defeated Skidmore’s Danny Knight 6-4, 6-2 before losing a marathon quarterfinal to Middlebury’s Courtney Mountifield, 6-4, 5-7, 15-13.
Bates senior Dylan Reffe (Washington, D.C.) and first-year Cosmin Bardan (Bacau, Romania) went 1-1 in the B Doubles Flight.