Blue Raider tennis’ new faces wrap up fall season with regional championships in Chattanooga
By MTN Sports Reporter: Dixon Riggins
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders tennis team travels 100 miles south to Chattanooga today in preparation for the ITA Regional Championships which are set to take place this weekend. The Blue Raiders sent eight of their nine total players to make the trip down I-24 and compete in this tournament.
The tournament serves as the championship tournament for the Ohio Valley region. In total, the tournament will see 172 players participate from 23 different schools across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The fall season hasn’t seen much turnaround for the Blue Raiders, as only two of the eight competing players played for MTSU in the ‘22-‘23 season. Sophomores Marcel Kamroski and 2023 Conference-USA Freshman of the Year Ondrej Horak serve as the only returning Blue Raiders from the ‘23 squad.
Four of the six new players transferred in from other schools. Sophomore Karim Al-Amin transferred from New Orleans University and has seen early success in his Blue Raider career winning four of his five total matches in his previous tournament in Tuscaloosa. Senior Leo Raquin made his Blue Raider debut at the ITA All-American Championships last week, after spending his first three seasons of collegiate tennis at Temple.
Redshirt seniors Demis Taramonlis and Javier Cueto Ramos each made their Blue Raider debuts at the All-American championships as well. Taramonlis enters his MTSU career coming off of a decorated four-year tenure at Radford, where he was named 3-time All-Big South First Team in singles and doubles and 2022 Big South Player of the Year. Ramos also saw much success at Columbus State being named All-Conference First Team in singles and doubles in 2022 and Freshman of the Year in 2021.
“At the end of the day, for me, it's about building the culture of the team,” said head coach Jimmy Borendame on what he expects from his team this weekend.
The tournament kicks off tomorrow at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga where 128 players will compete in the first round of singles matches and 64 duos will compete in the first round of doubles matches.
Horak and Taramonlis begin the tournament with singles matches against Ball State, while Berranger and Raquin both square off against players from Lipscomb University. Kamrowski, Ramos, Al-Amin, and Thomas take on Dayton, Belmont, Purdue, and ETSU respectively.
In doubles, three of the four first-round matchups feature in-state competition. The lone Blue Raider veterans Kamrowski and Horak play Lipscomb’s doubles. Berranger and Al-Amin take on Tennessee’s doubles. Ramos and Raquin take on Tennessee Tech. Finally, Taramonlis and Thomas are set to compete against Eastern Kentucky.
The tournament will continue throughout the weekend and conclude on Monday, Oct. 16.