Utah State men’s tennis has announced senior Andrew Nakajima and freshman Valdemar Holm as team captains for the 2017-18 season.
Head coach James Wilson said he wanted to use the fall season to see who would stand out in regards to work ethic and leadership.
“These two guys really separated themselves and did a good job of not only leading by example but also commanding the respect of the others, holding others accountable, pushing others and supporting others,” Wilson said.
This is the first time Nakajima has been named an Aggie captain. He is coming off a fall season where he went 11-6 in singles play and 6-5 in doubles. Nakajima won the singles Flight D at the Utah Intercollegiate with a 4-0 singles record. Nakajima’s 11 singles wins tied for No. 5 with junior teammate Samuel Serrano for single-season fall tournament singles victories. Overall, Nakajima has gone 36-26 in singles and 43-33 in doubles play during his USU career, ranking ninth in all-time doubles victories and tied for No. 17 in all-time singles wins.
“It feels pretty cool. It’s a special position on the team. It’s a bit of an honor to have Valdemar and myself named to this position,” Nakajima said. “It’s a testament to our hard work, but we’ll have the responsibility and the expectations from this. We’re looking forward to the year, and, hopefully, it will be a good one.”
Wilson said the main thing about Nakajima was he has been through a lot with the program.
“He's been one of the main people that has brought this program to reaching the heights that it’s at now,” Wilson said. “He's paid his dues, he works really, really hard, he brings it every day (and) he's very vocal, which is definitely what you look for. Overall, he just really leads by example."
Holm went 12-5 in singles during the fall schedule and 8-8 in doubles play. Holm’s 12 singles wins tied him with freshman teammate Addy Vashistha for the No. 3 spot in single-season fall tournament wins. Holm won the singles consolation draw at the ITA Regionals after defeating Northern Colorado’s Kyle Pease, 6-1, 6-4. He also won the doubles consolation bracket at the Bank of Commerce Fall Invitational with freshman Jose Carvajal.
“I’ve very honored to be named (a) captain. To come in as a freshman and be named captain is a big thing for me. I feel very honored and proud. It’s a result of a good fall,” Holm said. “I’ve done a lot of hard work, and it feels good to have the support of James and Carlos (DiLaura) naming me captain. I’m looking forward to leading this team alongside Andrew.”
Wilson said being named captain as a freshman is very unique, and he was hesitant about doing it, but Holm’s hard work on and off the court and his intensity stood out.
“Everything he does, he brings. He never has a bad day,” Wilson said. “That was really, really special, and it's really awesome to have from him."
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.