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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Sahana Raman ’25 qualifies for ITA Cup in Georgia

With her teammates, coaches and parents all supporting her from the sidelines, Sahana Raman ’25 was the last person standing in one of the most prestigious New England tennis tournaments. But the reality of her great accomplishment did not hit her until weeks later.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, Raman won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Championship Singles Title, earning a bid to compete at the ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia on Oct. 14.

Raman, a first year, has quickly adjusted to college competition. For Raman, the biggest transition has not been the increased competition, but playing tennis on a team for the first time; growing up, Raman mostly played tennis on an individual level. Though she was anxious about the transition, she credits her teammates for their encouragement and care. “They're all really welcoming and supportive,” she said.

Though the transition from high school to college competition can be tough for any athlete, Raman feels her training prepared her.

At the ITA New England Championship, Raman attributed her success not only to her forehand and serving skills, but also to her mental training. Middlebury tennis coaches Rob Barr and Hannah Fleckenstein have worked with Raman on mental preparation and staying calm in matches by taking deep breaths. 

Raman says that this preparation helped her succeed even though she was relatively inexperienced in competing against the higher level college competition.

At the tournament, Raman dedicated her run to her grandfather, who had passed away a few weeks earlier. She was able to push through her grief to win.

“It was tough,” Raman said. “I thought about him a lot throughout the matches.”

Fortunately, Raman had support from her parents throughout the tournament. Particularly, her father, who introduced her to tennis and served as her coach through her childhood, was able to support her and help her through matches. His presence also made her win extra meaningful.

“I’ve had a lot of different coaches growing up, but [my dad] has always been there,” Raman said.

His presence made Raman’s win extra meaningful; however, Raman says she did not really feel the importance of her win.

“I didn't have many emotions,” Raman said. “Thinking back on it, I was just shocked.”

Now, Raman’s new challenge is competing in the ITA Cup, where she will be competing against college athletes outside of New England for the first time. However, her overall goal is still to win the NCAA championship with the rest of the Middlebury team.

“Always my goal growing up has been kind of winning the NCAA championship together,” Raman said. “We want to keep striving for a great group dynamic.”