Bluefield State Athletics
Bluefield State Men’s Tennis Wins Big at USTA/ITA Atlantic Regional Championships
ERIE, Pa. – For the second consecutive year a Bluefield State College men’s tennis player has claimed the USTA/ITA Division II Men’s Atlantic Regional Singles Championship as Vlad Catlan won the singles tournament after defeating five opponents, including three seeded opponents to win the event. Catlan also teamed with Niklas Sparr to win the USTA/ITA Division II Men’s Atlantic Regional Doubles Championship.
Catlan, who came into the tournament unseeded, defeated his first round opponent Kyle Barrett of University of Charleston to advance to the second round where he faced off with no. 4 seed Ivan Irzabel from West Liberty University. Against Irzabel, Catlan earned a 6-2, 6-4 win and advanced to the quarterfinal round.
In the quarterfinals, Catlan continued to play well as he defeated no. 5 seed and All-WVIAC player Sam Humphrey 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals for a showdown with teammate Conner Pickering. Pickering, advanced to the semifinals by defeating no. 1 seed and last year's Atlantic Regional Singles Champion Shikar Kapur 6-3, 6-4. Pickering also had a good showing at the ITA Regionals, defeating two consecutive seeded opponents to set up the match against Catlan.
Catlan cruised to the finals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Pickering and downed no. 3 seed Keith Wittingham 6-4, 6-3 for the singles title.
In the doubles tournament, Catlan and Sparr, who earned ITA JUCO Doubles All-American honors last season, made for a dynamic tandem. The two downed Charleston’s duo of Humphrey and Dennis Okuth 8-5 in the first round. In the quarterfinals they defeated the no. 3 seeded team of Augustin Ochoa and Leonardo Vieria of Davis & Elkins 8-4.
Catlan and Sparr squared off with the no. 1 seeded team of Whittingham and Jordan van der Veer from Mercyhurst in the semifinals and won the match 8-2 to advance to the finals. In the final round, they defeated the no. 4 team of Irzabel and Ayman Barakat from West Liberty 6-1, 6-3 to win the doubles title.
Catlan and Sparr earn an automatic berth in the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships where Catlan will compete in the singles championships and team with Sparr to compete in the doubles tournament. They will travel to Mobile, Ala., Oct. 13-16 for the tournament played in the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center.