Will Boe-Wiegaard captured the NCAA Division III men’s singles tennis championship by winning five matches and avenging four prior defeats in three days. But anyone expecting a wild celebration from the Bates College senior went home disappointed Monday.
The experience of fulfilling a four-year quest was more bittersweet for the Connecticut native than most people would imagine. While some players might have set a national title as their ultimate goal, Boe-Wiegaard recognized his triumph in Fredericksburg, Va., as the end of an era.
“You know, it really hasn’t sunk in. People are on me left and right, asking me how it feels,” Boe-Wiegaard said in a telephone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s a mix. I’m sad that my college tennis career is over. But what a way to go out.”
Boe-Wiegaard turned the tables on longtime rival Brian Waldron of Middlebury (Vt.) College with a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Waldron defeated Boe-Wiegaard during the New England Small College Athletic Conference season.
“This was different because that first match was indoors on his home court,” Boe-Wiegaard said. “This court was a little bit slower, more like sandpaper. It really gripped the ball and took a little bit away from his serve. He has a huge, dominant serve, but I believe he only had two aces against me today.”
Unseeded in the singles tournament after finishing second last spring, Boe-Wiegaard downed three of the top eight players in the draw, including No. 2 Waldron and No. 1 Matt Seeberger of the University of California at Santa Clara.
He also reached the doubles quarterfinals with fellow Bates senior Tristan Beach.
“Playing two (singles) matches a day, you’re usually pretty beat up by this point,” said Bates coach Paul Gastonguay, who indicated that Boe-Wiegaard’s familiarity with Waldron wasn’t necessarily an advantage. “Sometimes it’s best to go up against somebody you don’t know anything about. But we had a good game plan. Mentally, he was very composed. He was ready for everything.”
There won’t be much time for Boe-Wiegaard to revel in his accomplishment. In two weeks, he plans to leave for California, where he will enter three professional satellite tour events.
“I was a big fish in a small pond at Bates, and now I’ll be a little fish in a humongous pond trying to make it in the pros,” Boe-Wiegaard said. “There are a bunch of players ranked in the top 200 in the world in these tournaments. You look at anyone out there, Andre Agassi or Roger Federer, they had to play in ’em at one time. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”