Tennis duo win ITA Regionals and Concordia make history
The Concordia Courier
By Maad AlKadhim | 10/7/2022
Senior and captain Mike Jansen and graduate student James Caddies of the Tennis team won ITA Regionals in doubles on Sat., Oct.1 in Colorado.
This is the first time in the school's NCAA DII era that Concordia has had a men's pair win the ITA Regional Tournament in the fall semester.
Winning ITA Regionals meant that Jansen and Caddies had to face off against the best doubles players in our region, which also includes the PacWest Conference. With their win, not only do they earn a ranking in the top eight in the nation, they also earn a spot to play all other regional champions in the ITA Nationals on Oct.14 in Georgia.
The pair excelled through the bracket; surprising many including themselves. Caddies said, “For me I never really had any thoughts that we were going to win the whole thing. In my ITA career I made one quarterfinal in four years.”
Jansen agreed with Caddies and said, “I think when we started the tournament, me and James played [doubles together] once last year in the first match of the season and it was bad. So coming into the tournament I never thought about winning it. It was not in my head. Then we had the first round and it was a very decent level, even though we had to get used to the altitude. After the first round we had the first seed of the tournament and they are good players. So we can win or lose. Even after winning the quarterfinals when we beat the number one seed, I did not feel that we were playing a lesser team in the semifinals or that it was going to be easy.”
With little experience playing as doubles partners together, Caddies and Jansen were able to advance through the round and brush off the pressure with the help of their team. “I didn’t really feel we did [have any pressure] because the way the team was supporting us kind of took the pressure off and it made everything we did, we kind of did for them and they wanted us to do well. There was no talk of ‘you should win this’ and same with our coach. He encouraged us to play well and not to think about what happens if we lose and just go out there and try to win,” Caddies added, “A nice thing for me on the point of pressure, someone with Mike’s pedigree in doubles, you would expect his partner to feel pressure to keep up with him. But the way he acted with me on the court and treated me took the pressure away completely and it felt like we were equal partners out there. He wanted the best for me and was encouraging the whole time.”
Our champions’ phenomenal run in the ITA Regionals enhanced their team chemistry. “I felt my trust in how James was playing was growing. Because when we started the tournament, we had last year’s match and I know how James can play, but I never really saw it in doubles. Starting this tournament, each match I felt more and more comfortable and not have to think about what he was going to do because I knew whatever he was going to do would work or was a good choice. I felt growing trust in the way he plays and that made me feel really comfortable, do my job and trust James to do his job,” said Jansen.
Winning their last ITA Regionals tournament meant a lot for Jansen and Caddies, but they viewed tournament play as a team success. Jansen said, “Winning the ITA Regionals felt nice to win something, but it felt more than us just winning. It was the entire team winning. It wasn’t just us; it was the men’s team and it was also the women’s team.”
Caddies added, “This is my second year here and I have felt very welcomed and very loved at the school. I have really enjoyed my time here and to give something back to the school feels amazing.”
The ITA Regional champions head to Georgia for nationals within a week. They are very excited to continue their run and “just go out there and enjoy and see what happens.” To continue supporting our Golden Eagles make sure to follow their Instagram page @cuitennis.
About Maad AlKadhim
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