Luetschwager makes Colorado State history at ITA Regional
Sophomore advances further than any Ram at the event since 2006
Colorado State sophomore Emily Luetschwager, a Stevens Point native and former Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) standout, has been playing some of the best tennis of her life this fall. She was entered into the 128-player field at the ITA Mountain Regional in Las Vegas, beginning Oct. 10.
As a first-time entrant at the ITA Mountain Regionals, Luetschwager may not have been projected to advance very far through the bracket.
Fast forward to Saturday, Oct. 13, and Luetschwager was still playing tennis in Las Vegas, while over 100 other entrants had already packed up their rackets and likely headed home.
Luetschwager, the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Champion as a junior and senior at SPASH, defeated several top players in the region from multiple different schools to earn a spot in the quarterfinals on Saturday. She advanced further than any Ram had at the ITA Regionals since Emily Kirchem reached the quarters in 2006.
The three players Luetchwager defeated in Las Vegas to reach the round of 16 have impressive credentials. She beat Denver’s Hannah Templeton in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Templeton is a transfer from South Carolina and projects to be an impact player for the Pioneers. Luetschwager then took down Huibre-Mare Botes of Idaho State, who will be in the mix to be the No. 1 singles player for the Bengals. In the round of 16, Luetschwager beat Idaho’s Maria Tavares, who was a first-team All-Big Sky honoree last season. Her lone loss came to the No. 2 seed in the field, UNLV’s Aiwen Zhu.
She entered the week in the Entertainment Capital of the World knowing that she was playing well, but didn’t want to set specific expectations for herself.
“I was looking at it as a great opportunity to get some high-quality matches in and get better and less of like ‘I have to make it to this round or otherwise this whole thing was a waste of time’,” said Luetschwager. “I think that helped. I went in there thinking it was a great chance to play some girls I’ve never played before and get some matches in.”
Luetschwager is now 8-3 this fall and is coming off a freshman campaign where she registered a 20-9 overall record in singles play. She felt like she was progressing following strong performances at the Colorado Fall Invite (Sept. 28-30) and the CSU-hosted Jon Messick Invitational (Oct. 5-6).
Coming off such an impressive showing at the ITA Regionals, Luetschwager feels even better about where her game is at.
“It helps knowing that you can compete with anyone, no matter what team they play for,” she said. “You can just go out there and compete. I know now that I am capable of finding a way to win, even if I’m not necessarily the better player out there.”
The Rams had 11 dual-match wins last season – their most since the 2004 campaign. The program appears to have a positive trajectory and solid momentum going into 2019, and Luetschwager’s performance in Las Vegas is one example of the direction the team is headed in.
“I think it goes to show where the program as a whole is going,” Luetschwager said. “It goes to show that we are here to compete. We haven’t always been looked at as a strong competitor in the Mountain West, but now people are realizing that these girls from CSU are good and we are here to play.”