October 27, 2017
After a three year conference championship drought, the Thunder ended up on top at the end of the competition this past weekend.
The Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Conference Championship Tournament spanned three days from Thursday, Oct. 19 through Saturday, Oct. 21. Heading into the tournament, each team was awarded points for their regular season CCIW ranking. Augustana had the best CCIW record and started the tournament with nine points, and Wheaton was awarded eight points with the second best CCIW record.
On day one, Wheaton College and Augustana College were tied after they each won the first round of matches in No. 1-6 singles and No. 1-3 doubles. Top seed in No. 1 singles Wheaton senior captain Katie Park advanced to the second day with a victory over North Park’s No. 1 singles player. In fact, all of Wheaton’s singles players advanced to the second day after the first day of competition mainly against Illinois Wesleyan and North Central.
In doubles play, Wheaton looked just as dominant with three doubles matches and three doubles victories. No. 1 doubles pair sophomore Claire Browning and Park, the top seed in the tournament, advanced past North Central’s No. 1 doubles duo.
After the second day it looked like Augustana might three-peat the CCIW team champion award when they led with 54 points. Wheaton stayed close behind with 51 points. Wheaton took a tough blow when junior Sara Magnuson was upset in No. 2 singles play by a Carthage player. The Thunder did rally to win out doubles play and the rest of singles play, but it did mean that they had three points of catching up to do.
On the third day, Wheaton emerged victorious with a final point total of 68, beating the defending conference champions, Augustana, by two points. Despite Park being upset in the No. 1 singles championship match, the Thunder was able to win enough points to pass their opponent. Senior Miranda Kay, junior Emma Westwick, Browning, and freshman Emme Lindquist won each of the No. 3-6 matches, all against Augustana players. Augustana was able to beat Wheaton’s No. 1 and No. 3 doubles duos, but the No. 2 Thunder pair of Kay and Magnuson beat their Augustana opponent.
Wheaton’s depth once again helped their team to victory despite top seeds losing. The Thunder will graduate Park who was first team all-CCIW and Kay who was second team all-CCIW this season.