COLUMBUS, Ohio In a rematch of the Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional championships singles final just three weeks ago, Bryan Koniecko was able to once again better Ohio State men’s tennis teammate Justin Kronauge in the final of the 2008 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships Sunday. Played at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va., Koniecko served up a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win to become the Buckeyes’ first ITA indoors singles champion since 2003.
It was only the second time in the history of the ITA indoor championships teammates faced each other in the singles final. The last time it occurred prior to Sunday was in 1989 when Michigan’s MaliVai Washington defeated Dan Goldberg 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
With the all-Buckeye final, Ohio State was assured an ITA indoor championships singles winner for the first time since 2003. Buckeye assistant coach Jeremy Wurtzman (2002-2004) won the ITA National Indoor singles championship after defeating three Top 10 players. Wurtzman would finish his career as an All-American and the 2004 ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year (co-honoree).
In all, Ohio State now has four ITA indoor championships titles two singles and two doubles. In 2004 and 2005, the duo of Scott Green and Ross Wilson won the doubles crown as the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively. With Wurtzman the fifth-seed in 2003, Koniecko also became the lowest-seeded Buckeye to win the tournament as the eighth-seed.
For the tournament, Koniecko, a senior from Syosset, N.Y., scored his biggest win during the four days of competition Friday when he downed No. 1 Oleksandr Nedovyesor of Oklahoma State 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. The win in the round of eight was suppose to set up a match up with No. 3 Daniel Vallverdu of Miami (Fla.), but Vallverdu had to withdraw from the tournament because of injury. With the walkover, Koniecko awaited the winner between Kronauge and No. 6 Arnau Brugues of Tulsa.
Kronauge, a junior from Centerville, Ohio, also boasted an impressive tournament, beating three Top 20 opponents en route to the final. It was a straight-set win over Brugues, 2006 ITA All-American Champion, which proved most notable.
Also of note, it was a role reversal from last season as Virginia’s Somdev Devvarman won the 2007 singles title with Ohio State serving as the event’s host. This year, it was a Buckeye who captured the title with the University of Virginia hosting the annual event.
For their collegiate careers, Koniecko and Kronauge have now met three times with Koniecko holding the 2-1 advantage. In the final of the 2008 Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional championships Oct. 20, Koniecko defeated Kronauge in a three-set thriller 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 to claim the singles crown in Columbus, Ohio. Kronauge won the 2007 Midwest Regional singles championship after defeating Koniecko in the semifinals 7-6, 6-3 in Minneapolis, Minn.
2008 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships
Hosted by University of Virginia
Nov. 6-9, 2008
No. 9 Bryan Koniecko (Ohio State) def. No. 8 Justin Kronauge (Ohio State) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
Note– rankings are ITA preseason rankings (Sept. 4), not tournament seedings