Morgan State University’s men’s tennis team become MEAC champions

Joshua Sampson, Staff Writer

The Morgan State University Bears tennis team won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) tennis tournament Saturday capturing the first men’s tennis championship in school’s history.

The Bears defeated the South Carolina State Bulldogs 4-2 earning an automatic bid to the NCAA championship tournament.

Senior Arjun Ramakrishnan, captain of the tennis team said this was the “cherry on top” for his last year of school.

“This is my last year and I’m just glad we could pull it off on my senior year. But being the captain of the team puts another cherry on top,” Ramakrishnan said.

“It’s a lot of emotion going through me right now. I’m just glad we could start the reign of getting the Morgan State University name on the trophy for the first time in history,” he added.

However, Ramakrishnan said the team is also focused on the NCAA tournament as that was the team’s ultimate goal.

“We went off from Morgan to Norfolk [and] our main goal was not to win the ring and stop it was more like a ticket to the NCAA [tournament],” Ramakrishnan said. “Our goal is to enter the NCAA [tournament] and do some damage. It was a huge accomplishment but we’re not done yet.”

The bracket for the NCAA tournament will be released at 6 p.m. on Monday.

The men dominated their opponents in each round to capture the first tennis title in school history. In the quarterfinals won the matchup against the Florida A&M Rattlers 4-0 and 4-1 versus the North Carolina Central Eagles in route to their first title.

In 2018, the Bears were in this same situation as the faced off against the Eagles in the MEAC championship. But unlike this year the team fell short as they lost 4-2. Still, the senior captain said though this team was similar to last year’s their mindset was different.

“We were in the finals and played the same team and we had almost the same people on the team for us playing and the only thing different was we did believe in ourselves that we could go one more step ahead because it was a new situation for us and it was more of a shock for us last year,” Ramakrishnan said.

When speaking to Coach Townes last season after winning the coach of the year award he said he was excited about this season and believed the men team could win the championship within the next one or two years.

This is the second straight championship for the tennis program after the women won in 2018.

Several Bears were also named to the MEAC men’s tennis all-tournament team.

Nihit Rawal was named outstanding performer of the tournament. And Oguzhan Ceylan was named to singles and doubles competition teams.

Shrey Gupta was named to the singles team, while Serhii Kharchev and Ramakrishnan were named to the doubles team.