- One NWC Player of the Year (Spencer Watanabe, 2017-18)
- Six Northwest Conference Tournament Appearances (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- Three All-Americans
- 33 All-NWC Athletes
A Winning Tradition
OJAI --- The No. 32-ranked George Fox men's tennis team had an electric day on the courts of the NCAA Division III West Championships, Friday evening, as Will Leach and Spencer Watanabe helped make history at the Ojai Tournament.
For the first time in the program's history, the Bruins will have two athletes play in the quarterfinals at the Ojai Tournament. Leach and Watanabe battled their way through the singles draw to become the first Bruins to covet a spot in the final eight athletes for Saturday's quarterfinals.
The road wasn't an easy one.
Leach faced off against Elmer Van Bulstelaar of Whittier in the first round of the day. The freshman came ready to play as he moved passed Van Bulstelaar with a 6-2, 6-2 score to advance to the round of 16. He then had to face the seventh seed from Caltech, James Wei, but he welcomed the challenge with open arms. Leach was stellar against one of the best in the tournament, taking down Wei with a 6-3, 6-3 score. Leach will need to be in top form for Saturday with a matchup against the No. 1-seed of Nikolai Parodi of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The two square off at 9 am on April 28.
On the other side of the bracket, Northwest Conference Player of the Year Spencer Watanabe was looking forward to his third straight appearance at the Ojai Tournament. With experience on his side and the fourth seed in the tournament, Watanabe overpowered his first opponent with a 6-0, 6-1 score. He then faced Julian Gordy of CMS and both athletes went back and forth. Gordy was able to take the first set against Watanabe at 7-6, but the senior rallied to take the next two sets by a 6-0, 6-0 final to advance to Saturday. He will No. 5-seed Varun Shanker of Caltech at 9 am on April 28.
Alex Namba was the other Bruin to qualify for singles play. Namba met Lucas Tilly from Cal Lutheran in the first round and dropped a hard-fought three-set match, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6. Despite falling in the first round, Namba bounced back in the back draw of the tournament. He beat the eighth seed from UC Santa Cruz and will meet Nathan Saragoza of Linfield at 9 am on April 28.
As if singles play wasn't enough for one day, Watanabe and Leach had to gear up on light rest to start doubles action. The pair met Hunter Kettering and Elmer Van Butselaar of Whittier in the round of 16. The No. 4-seed Bruins wasted no time showcasing their dominance with early points. The Bruins went on to beat the duo from Whittier, 8-3. They will now face Joshua Gearou and Jed Kronenberg of Pomona Pitzer at 12 pm on April 28.
What Comes Next:
The Bruins will have a busy Saturday with the quarterfinals taking place. Singles action will start at 9 am, while doubles will start at 12 pm.