Manning succeeds in ITA Regionals

Allegheny tennis players Thomas Manning, ’16, and Tyler Triolo, ’16, competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association  Division III Central Regional Tournament in St. Louis, Mo. on Sept. 25-27. Manning made it to the quarterfinals, the furthest an Allegheny athlete has competed.

For the ITA Regional tournament, each team in the region is allowed a certain number of players to attend based on the team and Allegheny took its top two players.

Head Coach Jared Luteran said the team has to be accepted into ‘A singles’ draw, which Manning and Triolo were. From there players compete to win the ITA tournament and go to the National Small College tournament.

Previously, Allegheny athletes have made it to the Round of 16. Pat Cole, ’14, reached the round twice. Manning was the only player from the NCAC in the top eight singles.

“I was pretty surprised and grateful,” Manning said. “The way my draw turned out was good, and I didn’t have too many long matches and tried to take it one at a time.”

Luteran said he was incredibly proud of Manning.

“He represented our whole athletic department better than anyone you could imagine,” Luteran said. “All the other players from other schools love Thomas. He’s such a likable guy and he’s very even-keeled on the court, never shows up his opponent or questions line calls. I was proud he was there representing our college on the national stage like that and doing it so well.”

On the first day, Manning beat Weston Noall of Kenyon College 6-4, 6-4 then advanced to compete against Sam Totten of Augustana College, winning 6-4, 6-2. Triolo went 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to beat Kenyon’s Max Smith, followed by a 6-2, 6-3 fall to Lincoln Metz from Wheaton College.

In doubles Manning and Triolo lost 9-8 to a DePauw University pair, then won 8-6 against the Wittenberg University pair.

“The biggest challenge was the amount of tennis each day. You played four matches a day if you kept winning,” Manning said. “Singles is more mental because everything is on you. Doubles you have to communicate with your partner and trust them to play as a team which adds an aspect to the game and there’s more to worry about.”

On the second day, Manning went 6-3, 6-3 over Radhakrishna Vishnubholta from Washington University in St. Louis advancing him to Round of 16.

“The best players are there so if you are not playing at 100 percent it’s very difficult to win. It was exciting to play them even with the difficulty,” Triolo said.

Luteran said Manning did well in the tournament and followed the strategies set for each match.

“He [Manning] was extremely coachable and executed the plan very well in every match. Whoever he was playing, whatever the strategy was to beat that opponent, he was executing it flawlessly and playing phenomeonal tennis,” Luteran said.

Manning faced Nicolas Chua of University of Chicago, reigning ITA regional champion and National Small College champion, in the quarterfinals and fell 7-6, 7-5, 6-2.

“Staying relaxed was important and playing with no pressure,” Manning said. “The fun interviews with Coach [Luteran] helped me to stay relaxed and make it seem like it wasn’t as big of a deal as I went in.”

Want to see more? Check out the team video about the ITA DIII Central Regional tournament. (video contributed by Jared Luteran)