“Domination” is a common word in sports writing, but after 77 years, it may not be a strong enough word to describe what’s been happening at Kalamazoo College since 1936.
The men’s tennis team officially clinched the MIAA championship on April 22. This was their 77th straight MIAA championship. “The Streak” is the longest known conference championship streak in any sport at any level in the world.
Senior captain David DeSimone ’15 has been a part of four of those 77 championships. He describes his part in “The Streak” by saying, “It’s awesome to be a part of a great ongoing legacy. To be a part of that [The Streak] is unbelievable.”
DeSimone was able to clinch this MIAA championship with a great individual and team performance on his senior night. It was a cold Wednesday afternoon, so the matches against archrival Hope were played indoors at storied Markin Racquet Center.
Before the matches started the senior night festivities took place and DeSimone got to share a warm hug with his extremely supportive parents. His father, Al DeSimone, is the vice president here at K. DeSimone says, “Honestly, even if I didn’t go here my parents still would have come to every match to support me anyways.” This support of an individual is just one example of the great support tennis receives here at K.
On that night verse Hope there wasn’t an empty spot on the bleachers in Markin. DeSimone says having that huge student and parent crowd at matches gives the team some extra energy and gives them something extra to play for.
This energy provided by the crowd isn’t something every team at K gets, thanks to the ridiculously historical success; they get a few extra fans, even on midweek matches.
The next step for this year’s team is the MIAA conference tournament, which starts Thursday at noon here on K’s campus. If they win Thursday and then again in the MIAA finals on May 1, they will advance to the NCAA Championships.
DeSimone knows this is his last go for Kalamazoo tennis, and he plans to give it his very best. He says, “The dream ending [of my college tennis career] would be having the team make it to the final eight. Winning two or three regional matches and competing in Cincinnati [at this year’s national championships].”