PALATINE HILL -- The last two seasons have been outstanding for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers, as both the women's and men's team have seen a high level of success in the Northwest Conference.
Perhaps the success in the spring, which included a conference title in 2015-16 for the women's team, is tied to Lewis & Clark's showing at the fall Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northwest Regional Championships. In 2015, the Pioneers had three student-athletes qualify for the ITA Oracle Cup, a national tournament, including a returning senior this year, Christine Eliazo. Last season, Wiktoria Plawska won the singles title to advance. Meanwhile, the men's team has had back-to-back best-ever showings at the tournament. Michael Brewer, who graduated last spring, made the singles semifinals and returning seniors Brenden Barrows and Gordon Barrows were in the doubles semis last season.
The Barrowses have played great the last two seasons and should be one of the best doubles teams in the entire West Region this year. The duo set a record in 2016 for the most NWC doubles victories (10), and last season, tied Harrison Collins' record for the highest NWC singles winning percentage (.910). Gordon Barrows was selected All-NWC Second Team in 2016. Keane Hindle, Kei Inoue and Pim Trouerbach also return as seniors. The group has remained consistent for the Pios, combining for an 8-0 record in NWC singles matches a year ago. Hindle finished 5-1, Trouerbach went 3-1 and Inoue was 1-1 in doubles matches.
Raed Attia spent most of his sophomore season as the team's No. 1 singles player, finishing with a record of 7-12 overall and 5-5 within the NWC. With Brewer, Attia had an 11-6 record in doubles matches, playing the majority of the year in No. 2 position. The All-NWC First-Team choice is expected to stay atop the Pios' lineup and go up against the best in the conference.
Brendan Adams, Will McDermott, Ryan Hayes and Jackson Powell return as sophomores. Adams and McDermott are athletic players that move well. Adams went 2-1 overall last season. Hayes battled injuries in his first season and will look for his first collegiate action this year. Powell was 13-4 in singles and 13-3 in doubles when paired with graduated senior Ben DeLuca in 2016. Powell combined with Hindle for a 4-1 mark and was a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award at last April's ELCYS.
Three freshmen join the team this year and all will compete to be in the lineup week-in-and-week-out. Ramez Attia picked Lewis & Clark because of the "great academic-athletic balance." He joins the Pios from Cairo, Egypt and is the brother of Raed. Marc Hayashi joins the team from Weil College Prep in Honolulu and chose Lewis & Clark because he "fell in love with the school" during his visit. Riley Vickers is a former doubles champion from La Jolla, Calif. who liked the college's location in Portland and the small school size.
Five seniors are back from a year ago to start the fall. Eliazo will enter her final season as the program's all-time winningest competitor. Over her first three years, the 2016 All-NWC First-Team selection has won over 88 percent of her matches and finished last season with a 15-4 singles mark. Eliazo had a streak of 24-straight NWC singles victories come to an end last year. Adrienne Fox was in the lineup frequently toward the end of her junior season, finishing with a 5-2 singles mark. She won her final four matches of the year. Glenna Gee-Taylor comes back for her final year of eligibility after a 5-5 singles record and 3-2 doubles mark in 2016. Kacey Incerpi fought off an injury toward the end of the year. Over the last two seasons, the Rhetoric and Media Studies major has a 20-8 singles record. She should be one of the best doubles competitors in the NWC. Natalie Kelly is a dual-sport student-athlete who competes for women's basketball and is able to pick-up on the tennis season as soon as her winter sport ends. Kelly was 6-1 as a NWC singles player last season.
The Pios have no returning juniors active this fall, but welcome back a four-person sophomore class. Josie Legarza spent most of her rookie year at the No. 2 singles position and finished with a 12-5 record to earn All-NWC Second Team. Competing with four different partners, Legarza went 11-7 in doubles. Tash Hood is a high-energy competitor and had a solid debut season with a 12-6 singles record. She should have an impact this season as well. Chloe Sermet was 12-4 in singles during 2016 and has improved even more over the last summer. She won her final three matches a year ago and was 7-3 in her final 10 overall. Like Kelly, Caroline Hennes competes in multiple sports, spending the fall as a midfielder for women's soccer. Hennes went 3-0 in doubles matches in 2016.
Madelyn Landerfelt and Riley Hanks join the team as freshmen this year, and both are good athletes and exciting additions to the team. Landerfelt is from Minden, Nev. and was part of a division championship team. Expected to pursue a degree in Biology, she chose Lewis & Clark "because of the location, the beautiful campus and the overall vibe." Hanks is from Redmond, Ore. and was a four-year state qualifier and team captain. She picked the Pios because of the campus and quality of education.
The women's team debuts on Sept. 22 at the four-day ITA Northwest Regional Championships, with the men hosting their version of the tournament starting on Sept. 28.