National Champ! Grant Urken Wins D-III Men's Tennis Singles Crown

Grant Urken with head coach Conor Smith
Grant Urken with head coach Conor Smith

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Bowdoin junior Grant Urken (Purchase, N.Y.) has won the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis singles championship, becoming the first Polar Bear tennis player to win an individual national championship in school history.

Urken accomplished the feat with an impressive straight-set 6-3, 6-2 win over Jack Katzman of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the finals of the tournament on Saturday in Claremont, Calif. The win caps a spectacular season for Urken, who finishes the season with a 17-6 record playing at #1 singles all year for the Polar Bears. He was unseeded entering the tournament and knocked off the eighth seed, the third seed, the top seed and then unseeded Katzman in the finals.

Urken advanced to the national championship match with a pair of wins on Friday. He defeated Gustavus Adolphus' Mohanad Al Houni (6-3, 6-2) in the quarterfinals before bouncing top-seeded Nikolai Parodi of CMS (6-4, 4-6, 6-4) in the semifinals. He won two matches on Thursday to open the tourney, cruising to straight-set wins over Zach Hewlin of Whitman (6-2, 6-4) and Sebastian Sikh of North Carolina Wesleyan (6-1, 6-4).

Bowdoin's had previously won a doubles national championship in 2011 when Oscar Pena and Stephen Sullivan won the Division III doubles title. Joulia Likhanskaia of the Bowdoin women's tennis team advanced to the finals of the DIvision III singles bracket in 2015 before falling in the finals.