Jackie Buzkin ’22 Claims Singles Title at Women’s Tennis ITAs

This past weekend, the women’s tennis team competed at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Regional Championships, hosted by rival Williams in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Over the course of the weekend, the Mammoths faced competition in singles and doubles brackets from 10 other teams and walked away with the individual champion and a doubles bracket finalist.

Several of Amherst’s singles and doubles pairs were seeded going into the tournament. The first-year pairing of Jackie Buzkin and Claire Evans was seeded fifth in the doubles bracket. Meanwhile, the Mammoths had three seeded players in the singles bracket: Buzkin (ninth), Evans (11th) and May Zhu ’22 (16th).

On the opening Friday, Buzkin breezed through her first two singles matches, downing unseeded opponents from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Middlebury with ease. Evans, meanwhile, also made her way past two opponents 6-0,6-1 and 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Round of 16. Anya Ramras ’22 made it to Saturday’s competition as well with two wins, despite not being seeded. Camila Trapness ’19, however, lost to her Wesleyan opponent in the round of 32 after being bested in a hardfought match that saw the first set need a tie-breaker.

Doubles action also went well for the Mammoths, with Evans and Buzkin working together to defeat a Brandeis College team, 8-4. Things didn’t go as well for the pairings of Trapness and Zhou or Ramras and Maggie Owensby ’22, both of which failed to make it past the first round.

On the second day, Buzkin continued to excel. The first-year phenom stormed past Elena Pellegrini of Trinity by a score of 6-3, 6-0, and followed up the singles rout with a win alongside Evans in the doubles bracket. Evans, however, did not fare well in the singles bracket, falling to the tournament’s top seed, Victoria Yu of Wesleyan, 6-1, 6-1.

Ramras picked up a win over MIT’s Ashley Teng, 7-6(5), 6-4, in a match which tested both players’ endurances.

However, this enormous expenditure of energy hindered Ramras’ abilities, and Yu took advantage of Ramras’ exhaustion to knock off her second-straight Amherst opponent.

In Sunday action, Buzkin emerged as the last woman standing in the singles tournament, after booking her ticket to the finals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Tufts’ Caroline Garrido. In the finals, Buzkin bested Wesleyan’s Venia Yeung in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, clinching the individual crown without dropping a single set. In the doubles bracket, Evans and Buzkin made it to the finals but fell to Wesleyan’s sibling pairing of Victoria and Kristina Yu, who took home doubles gold.

The strong showing by first years is a promising sign for the Mammoths, who didn’t even have their talented junior class on hand to compete, with all four members of the Class of 2020 studying abroad this semester. The Mammoths begin to wrap up their fall season with a home match against Williams on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.