Men’s Tennis: All-American duo compete at Nationals

The Warhawk men’s tennis team had two All-American’s competing in the doubles portion of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala., this past weekend.

The top seeded doubles duo of junior Byron Balkin and senior Mitch Osborne fought hard in a closely contested first round match.

In the end, they were defeated by Tanner Brown and Erik Lim of John Hopkins University 7-5, 6-4.

“It was a great experience in Alabama—one that I’ll never forget,” Balkin said. “Being down there representing UW-W amongst the best players from the fall season was truly an honor.”

The ’Hawks had a second chance at redemption in the consolation bracket Thursday evening, but fell to Jackson Isaacs and Nick Szczurek of Emory University 7-6(5), 6-4.

“This was definitely my most cherished individual memory of tennis,” Osborne said.  “However, it was more meaningful for me to represent the program as a whole than to be considered an All-American.”

This was the first pair of losses for the ‘Hawks duo, who opened the season with nine consecutive victories.

“This was the second time Byron and I were on the national scene and it felt as though we finally got some much deserved recognition from the other high-profile schools,” said Osborne. “We worked very hard to get there so it was a great feeling representing our fellow Warhawks as best we could.”

Balkin said participating in the national championship was one of the biggest moments of his tennis career.

“Qualifying for the tournament was up there with some of my great tennis accomplishments,” Balkin said. “Mitch and I defeated arguably the D-III’s best doubles team in the country to win our section and qualify.”

They duo concluded the fall season with a 9-3 record.

Balkin and Osborne combined had a 19-10 record during the 2011-2012 season.

“Moving forward, what makes me more excited is to be a part of the long list of previous and future All-Americans Whitewater tennis will surely have,” Osborne said.

The national tournament marks the end of competition for the Warhawk men’s fall season.

The ’Hawks spring season begins on January 25thwith a match against Division I Northern Illinois University in Rockford, Illinois.