Seniors Lu, Photiades, Ratchford Receive Recognition at End-of-Season Banquet
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men's tennis team held its annual end-of-season banquet this past Sunday, one week after the Elis' thrilling season finale against Columbia. Traditionally, this year-end meeting grants the team one last opportunity to say goodbye to the seniors and wrap up the season by recognizing several players who were especially vital to the Bulldogs' success. This year's award winners, all members of the departing senior class, set the bar high for their teammates with their unyielding commitment both on and off the court. Over the past four years, the 2017 graduating class' contributions to the squad have extended far beyond wins and losses; their leadership has laid a truly solid foundation upon which Yale will be sure to build going forward.
Senior captain Tyler Lu received the James A. Hutchinson '96 award. This honor is given to the player who has shown the highest level of sportsmanship and co-operative spirit, and has done the most for tennis at Yale. Going into the 2016-17 season, Lu had accumulated a phenomenal 54-25 singles record for the Elis, starting all of his dual matches at the No. 1 singles spot. Lu submitted arguably the best season of his collegiate career in the 2016-17 campaign, notching a 26-6 overall singles record and going undefeated in Ivy League play to earn an end-of-season national ranking of No. 63. He also found consistent success alongside teammates Photos Photiades and Ziqi Wang in doubles, earning a 13-8 record in the spring.
Given his remarkable achievements this past season, Lu also won this year's George A. Phelps '95 Memorial Award, which recognizes the member of the team who has made the greatest improvement over the course of the year. Indeed, Lu's remarkable 7-0 run to end the season, which featured wins over three different nationally ranked opponents, may have solidified his nomination for Ivy Player of the Year. If he were to win the award (announcements will be made later this week), Lu would become the first Yale player to earn the distinction since Marc Powers in 2010.
Finally, seniors Photos Photiades and James Ratchford took home the Stuart D. Ludlum, Jr. '62 Memorial Award. This award is given to the players who best exhibit the qualities of enthusiasm, perseverance, and team spirit. Both seniors have been consummate team players since arriving on campus freshman year, and have shown a willingness to put the priorities of the squad before themselves. Photiades' contributions at No. 3 doubles this past year, where he ended the season with a 7-4 record in his last 11 matches, proved to be an important part of the Elis' success. Photiades, Ratchord and fellow senior Alex Hagermoser have also excelled off the court throughout their collegiate careers, garnering ITA Scholar-Athlete recognition every year.
On the whole, Sunday's banquet perfectly highlighted the achievements of a graduating class that has served as a truly exemplary group of competitors and teammates.
Report by Cameron Ferguson '18, Yale Sports Publicity