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Friday, Sep 29, 2023

When in Rome, give it a swing


Stan Morris ’22 is headed to Rome, Georgia, after finishing second in the Division III ITA New England Region men’s singles championship. Courtesy of Colin Bourque ’25

After success in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Championship, three Middlebury men’s tennis players are headed to Rome, Georgia on Oct. 14 to represent the Panthers in the ITA Cup. 

At the ITA regional tournament, Aidan Harris ’23 and Noah Laber ’24 won the doubles championship, while Stan Morris ’22 was runner up in the singles championship.

Morris advanced to the finals of singles play in the ITA cup in 2019.

“It was an awesome privilege to compete for a national title my sophomore year,” Morris said. “Hopefully I can use that experience to raise my level over the course of the tournament.”

The ITA Cup consists of regional champions and runner-ups from other ITA regional tournaments across the country. With everyone in Rome looking to make deep runs in the tournament, the Middlebury athletes will be arriving ready to give the tournament their all.

“I’m super excited to be able to play against the best teams in the country,” Laber said. “I feel the ITA Regionals gave us the confidence to play better than we ever have before.”

Morris is not the only Panther making the trip to Georgia with experience in the ITA Cup. Head Coach Andrew Thomson ’10 won the ITA Cup in 2007 and 2009 in doubles play.  Thomson has been encouraging his players to focus on effort, not results.

“Coach Thomson is a very engaged coach who cares a lot about everyone’s progress,” Harris said. “In doubles particularly, he is all about taking control of points at the net. While Noah and I aren’t typically seeking to come to the net in singles, Coach Thomson makes sure we are moving around a lot at the net and trying to go hunt balls as much as we can. His coaching really helped us in our run to the title at the regional tournament.” 

Aidan Harris ’23 (left) and Noah Laber ’24 (right) pose with their trophies after winning the Division III ITA New England Region men’s doubles competition. Courtesy of Aidan Harris 23'

While Harris, Laber and Morris head down to Georgia with Coach Thomson, the rest of the team will be playing in the Wesleyan Invitational on Oct. 16 and 17.

From October 14–17, Harris, Laber and Morris will be taking to the courts to see if they can become the next Panthers to win a national championship. Just by making the tournament they’ve established themselves as All-Americans. The players and coaches are avoiding stress and looking at this event as an exciting opportunity to do something big.

“It’s a fun thing,” Coach Hansen said about the upcoming ITA Cup. “Give it a swing!”