The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s tennis team is ranked No. 1 in the country. All indicators were pointing to this finally being the year the Stags get over the hump and win that elusive national title.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to that championship tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich. Sophomore Warren Wood, the team’s No. 1 player, was left home for something coach Paul Settles called an “internal team matter.”
That has to be a tough call for a coach whose team is so close to the ultimate reward. Give him credit for having the guts to do it. You would like to think they all would make the same call. But that is not the case.
Who knows what Wood did? But it doesn’t matter. Star athletes get star treatment too much of the time. It’s nice to know some coaches still have standards.
If any team has the depth to still pull this off, it’s the Stags (28-3), Claremont native Alex Lane has been playing No. 4 all year. Two years ago he was playing No. 1. That’s how deep this team is.
The team got behind on Monday, trailing Middlebury 2-1 after doubles. But the first four singles matches completed all went the Stags way. They won 5-2. Now it’s on to the semifinal on Tuesday. Settles has already sent a message. If his team pulls it off and wins it all anyway. Well. now that’s REALLY sending a message.