Putterman defends Central Regional title, leads men’s tennis at four-day tournament
As senior Adam Putterman cruised through the field of 128 to claim his second consecutive USTA/ITA Central Regional singles title Monday, he solidified his place as the crown jewel of the Washington University’s men’s tennis program.
The Bears competed in a four-day tournament at Wabash University in Indianapolis, Ind., where the top-seeded Putterman won seven singles matches without dropping a set. He capped off the weekend with a 6-2, 6-3 championship triumph over second-seeded Paul Burgin of Kenyon College.
Putterman’s Central Regional title is the eighth for a Wash. U. players under head coach Roger Follmer’s 12-year tenure, following Brian Alvo (2001, 2003) and John Watts (2006-09).
Follmer compared Putterman to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the sense that having the right kind of chip on the shoulder can propel an athlete to success.
“[Tom Brady] wasn’t one of the top picks—he was the [199th] pick overall—and he goes out there each time and lets people know they should have chosen him earlier,” Follmer said. “That’s kind of the way Adam’s been playing his last two years, with that chip on his shoulder, like a Tom Brady… He didn’t just come in [as a freshman] and start beating everyone—he was struggling at No. 3, and now he’s playing at a level similar to John Watts, who won regionals four years in a row and only lost one set in four years.”
With the regional title under his belt, Putterman, last year’s national championship runner-up, will move on to the USTA/ITA Small College Championships on Oct. 13-16 in Mobile, Ala. He credited this year’s regional title to practice time with a deep and talented team, improvements on his serves, return game and net game, and Follmer’s tutelage.
Putterman also advanced to the quarterfinals of the “A” doubles tournament alongside his partner, sophomore Ross Putterman (no relation). The Putterman duo entered the doubles draw seeded No. 1 in the tournament but dropped an 8-6 match to the 10th-seeded Kenyon pair of Wade Heerboth and Robert Turlington.
In the Round of 16, Heerboth and Turlington also had notched an 8-6 upset of the seventh-seeded Wash. U. doubles duo of senior Kareem Farah and sophomore Parker Chang.
Although both of his top pairs suffered upset losses, Follmer has been encouraged by the Bears’ play in doubles.
“Our doubles look a little bit better,” he said. “We definitely have more options in doubles this year with the improvements the guys have made in the offseason.”
Another encouraging Wash. U. performance was that of junior Tim Noack, seeded 15th in the “A” singles draw that Adam Putterman won. In the Round of 16, Noack upset third-seeded William Drougas of Case Western University (6-3, 6-2).
“The major standout performance would probably be Tim Noack,” Adam Putterman said. “He started at No. 6 [on the Wash. U. team] last year, and this year he lost in the quarterfinals. He just had a great tournament and has really improved a lot over the fall, and it definitely showed.”
“I think he’s going for his forehand more than he was in the past, and he’s also mixing in more variety as well,” Follmer said of Noack. “He’s still aggressive—he’s always going to be aggressive, but he’s a little more savvy in mixing in some moonballs and some change-of-pace balls.”
Noack’s hot streak ran out of steam against Heerboth in the quarterfinals (6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 7-5).
“I fought really hard to come back and win the second set and the third set, but it was a little bit of fatigue on my part,” Noack said. “I was really tired at the end and couldn’t chase down some balls that I might normally get to.”
Also in “A” singles, seventh-seeded senior Gary Parizher and the 21st-seeded Farah advanced to the Round of 16 before dropping their respective matches.
In the “B” singles draw, junior Max Franklin and sophomore Eric Zishka each won three matches before falling in the quarterfinals. The pair of Noack and senior Seth Sankary advanced to the semifinals of the “B” doubles draw, and the duo of senior Bryan Haywood and sophomore Amreet Mohanty reached the quarterfinal round.