Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goodbye to blogspot

This will be the last post to

Never fear I'm going to continue to blog at my new site

Why move? Nothing like a new project over the winter but honestly Wordpress has more features and allows for far greater control over content and layout. I've moved all the old content over to the new blog and am currently working through all the old posts tagging and adding categories.

Make sure to subscribe to the new blog so you are informed when new content is added.

Goodbye dear old blogspot!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photos from 2009 spring break

Was going through my computer files and ran across these pictures from our 2009 trip to Hilton-Head. Certainly a blast from the past. Enjoy!

2009 Pictures

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An evening with the sleep doctor

The team had a wonderful dinner with Dr. Richard Simon last night in the Reid Campus Center. Dr. Simon is a '72 graduate of Whitman (and varsity tennis player) who is now one of the leading sleeping researchers in the nation. Dr Simon made the point of telling the team that if you see someone who is truly great make sure to follow them. Sage words from the sleep doctor.

Was a great experience for the team to be able to sit down with Dr Simon and talk about sleep, sleep issues, and ask questions. Dr Simon had some really fascinating information on sleep. For instance about 8 years ago Whitman student Jenny Schwartz conducted a study with the Whitman women's tennis players that focused on their serve and sleep. Basically she tracked 2nd serve percentage to a specific target with the student's normal sleep patterns and repeated the experiment with 2 more hours. Not surprising there was a statistically significant improvement with the 2 hours extra sleep. That experiment has since been repeated with Stanford varsity basketball players with similar results (free throws). One interesting fact that Dr Simon presented to the team was varsity athletes typically get 1 more hour of sleep than students not involved in athletics -- 7 hours vs 6 hours. However the 7 hours is still well below the 9 hours most college age students need.

We also spent quite a bit of time talking about resetting one's "rhythm" to adjust to time zone changes. This year we will be spending time in Hawaii and Washington DC so the information presented is very pertinent to our situation. Dr Simon stressed it was the wake up time that adjusts one sleep clock. He suggested when traveling to an Eastern time zone to start getting up 1/2 hour earlier and immediately getting full spectrum light (sunlight) a few weeks before the date of travel.

Of particular interest was the topic of naps. Basically sleep is good and if done properly naps can make a person more alert and reduce "sleep debt". It was suggested that if one has an important task (like a test) in the afternoon or evening a good strategy would be to drink a cup of coffee and then take a 20 minute nap. However be careful not to nap too long and then potentially wake up from stage 3 sleep. Waking up from stage 3 sleep can cause "sleep drunkenness" and heavy lethargy.

Also for the parents out there -- it is completely natural for teenagers to have a sleep cycle of staying up late and sleeping-in the morning. It appears that humans are wired to have different sleep patterns at different ages.

Question for those that stayed away through this article -- how can you tell if you are getting enough sleep? Answer -- if you don't need an alarm clock to wake up.

Big thanks to Dr Simon for taking the time to have dinner with the tennis team.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Calling All Alumni

I can't tell you how excited I am that the Vegas reunion is less than a week away! I am looking forward to catching up with everyone during a fun weekend. Since we are all getting in at different times (even different days, for some people), let's plan on meeting at 9PM Friday evening in the lobby of the Mirage. If anyone gets in later, please call me on my cell phone and I will tell you where to meet us. If you don't have my cell number email me this week.

Going to be an amazing weekend and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Carving!

One of our annual team traditions is an evening of pumpkin carving. This tradition has become quite serious for the guys and they all strive to win the two prizes -- the Ben and Anna 1st place award. Several years ago I started asking my children which of the Jack-o-Lanterns they like most. This year the awards go to Matt's Harry Potter logo (Ben's pick) and Colton/James for their Kirby creation (Anna's Pick).

This year was a bit unique as the carving competition was during family weekend. Many of the parents came over for dinner (dutch oven chili and corn bread, smoked chicken and pork) and to watch the competition.

Here is a link to pictures from the evening.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 2 and 3 of the ITA's

Today is the end of day 3 of the ITA's. Yesterday Andrew had a struggle against the elements and #1 ranked Dillon Pottish of Emory. Andrew was disappointed that he lost to the #1 player in the nation 6-2, 6-2. It was a rough loss for Andrew as the high humidity and tough opponent were too much for him to handle. At the end of the match I was worried how Andrew was dealing with the heat and humidity and if he would be able to continue with the tournament. After a day in the hotel and lots and lots of water, Andrew was feeling like his normal self.

Today Andrew had a 8:30am match against #4 seed Amrik Donkena of Gustavus Adolphus College. Turned out to be a very streaky match. In the 1st set Andrew was up 5-4 serving only to lose 3 straight games and drop the 1st set 7-5. The second set was even up to about 3-3 when Andrew picked up his level of play reeling off 7 straight games to go up 5-7, 6-3, 4-0. Down 0-4 Donkena was ready to give up the match and made a major change in tactics (slicing most every ball) and clawed his way back into the set at 3-4 (Andrew up a break). Serving at 4-3 Andrew totally stepped up the plate to easily hold serve and break to win the match.

Tomorrow Andrew plays the #3 seed Joey Fritz of Amherst. Like Andrew, Fritz is a talented sophomore. I believe in his last year of junior tennis Fritz was ranked as high as #19 in the nation! He might be the highest ranked player ever to play DIII. Kind of interesting fact about the tournament -- because of the play-in match and the draw placement, Andrew will have played 4 of the top 5 players in the tournament. Talk about some tough matches!

As usual someone (thanks Conor) will be twittering the scores.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 1 at the USTA/ITA National Championships

Today was play-in day at the 2011 USTA/ITA National Championships in Mobile, AL. These championships have evolved to where the winners of the PNW and Texas regional tournaments arrive a day early for a one match play-in. Win that match and you are guaranteed three more matches. Lose and you are out of the tournament. Its not a perfect system but financially much better than the old format where the regional tournament alternated between Texas and PNW.

Since the separation of the PNW/Texas tournaments (6 years ago) it has been a Whitman vs Trinity affair in singles. I believe in doubles it has been Whitman and Trinity 4 of the past 6 years. Because of this history both teams/players are well acquainted with the play-in system.

In the singles play-in match sophomore Andrew La Cava had the tough task of playing the #4 player in the nation in Trinity senior Max Frey. At the end of last year he was one of the hottest players in the nation advancing to the semis in the NCAA individual tournament.

Today Andrew played a brilliant match to knock off the Trinity player 6-3, 6-1. Funny how tennis works. A few weeks ago Andrew wasn't sure if he was even going to play in the regional tournament because of shoulder tendinitis. Because of a sore shoulder he hasn't been able to serve big and play his typical attacking serve and volley game. The past few weeks he has adapted to playing much more patient from the baseline and picking his spots to be aggressive. Today he focused on getting a high percentage of 1st serves in play and rolling the ball deep to neutralize Frey's huge game (he has a monster serve and forehand). Andrew executed his game plan perfectly and played his way into the final grouping. An odd part about the tournament is the ITA committee had to produce 2 different draws because of the play-in match system. If Frey would have won he would have been the #2 seed in the main draw. Instead Andrew now goes into the draw and now plays the #1 seed Dillon Pottish of Emory. Basically Andrew has to play the #2 and #1 seeds in the tournament on back-to-back days!

Unfortunately doubles didn't go as well. Senior Conor Holton-Burke and junior Matt Tesmond took on Frey and his partner. The Trinity combo is very experienced having played together all last season and part of the 2009 season. The Trinity team played incredibly solid tennis making most every return, forcing Conor and Matt into difficult situations. In the 1st set the Trinity team broke the 1st game of the set and never looked back winning 6-2. Early in the 2nd set it looked like the Trinity team would run away with the match as they broke to open the set. At 0-2 down the Whitties started to find their grove winning 3 straight games to go up 3-2 (on serve). The experience of the Trinity team showed as they didn't get rattled by Conor/Matt's improved play and they reeled off 4 straight games to take the match 6-2, 6-3.

Tomorrow Andrew plays at 10:30am. I will try to keep a Twitter feed going with live scores.

Here is a link to some pictures (updating tonight)