When Chema Carranza and Joe Dodridge made history last week, the senior tennis players were both so overcome with emotion that they didn’t know what to say to each other.
After missing their chance at qualifying for the ITA Nationals at a tournament in Tulsa last month, Carranza and Dodridge both knew that winning out at the ITA Regionals was their last shot. In the process, the two became the first Badgers doubles team to ever win the tournament and only the third team in Wisconsin history to qualify for Nationals, held this week in Palm Desert, Calif.
“Winning felt great,” Dodridge said. “To do it with one of my best friends, we’ve been playing doubles together since freshman year, and to be the first ones to do it at UW is a privilege. We’re trying to create as good of a legacy as possible.”
Head coach Danny Westerman was just as excited as his players when he realized they clinched a Nationals berth.
“I was thrilled for them,” Westerman said. “Those guys have been playing great doubles for a long time together now, and doubles is literally a game of a handful of points every match, so a lot of them went their way. I was really happy for them, especially for the opportunity for them to qualify for Fall Nationals. It should be a great treat for them.”
Throughout their careers, Carranza and Dodridge have had great success, including a Big Ten runner-up title last year. The two have gone 13-2 in doubles play this season, and are the first ITA Nationals qualifiers from Wisconsin since 2009.
“It always feels good to make a little bit of history,” Carranza said. “Being able to be remembered as the first to win, it’s something really special.”