Young talent dominates at Transylvania Invitational

Cole Borden ’24 and Liam Grennon ’24 rest between games in their doubles match against Wittenberg on April 7. | Photo by Elijah Greene ’25

Rarely does Wabash see a performance which can be called an unadulterated success. But that is exactly what the tennis team demonstrated at the Transylvania University Invitational on September 9 and 10. If there are any negative takeaways from the team’s performance, nobody seems to know what they are.

Wabash tennis spent the weekend in Nicholasville, KY, where they had the chance to play against Wittenberg, Transylvania University and Asbury College. The tournament was not divided up into regular matches, but instead, every team faced each of the other three teams in separate matches of both singles and doubles with four doubles teams and eight-to-nine singles players.


The Little Giants went 11-for-12 in doubles over the weekend, sweeping both Transylvania and Wittenberg and losing only #3 doubles to Asbury. What’s more is two of the team’s best doubles players—Liam Grennon ’24 and Cole Borden ’24—didn’t play over the weekend to make court space for younger players. While it may have been a stumbling block season for Wabash doubles up to this point, any worries about their effectiveness have been put to rest.

For Head Tennis Coach Daniel Bickett, the big difference between this season and from years prior is how well the team is executing the game plan and maintaining a high level of energy: aspects of the game that they practiced all week.

“We have a lot of guys who are entering their second year and are starting to understand how I want them to play doubles,” said Bickett. “And I think that was the biggest thing that we saw this weekend is they really committed to playing how we want to play doubles and they went out there and executed that well.”


Even though they set the bar high in doubles, the Little Giants found a way to follow up with a near-equally impressive singles performance, going 21-for-26. Transylvania, unable to secure a single win against Wabash all weekend, dropped all nine singles matches. Faring slightly better, Wittenberg captured a single win at the #3 singles spot.

Asbury’s singles provided the team with their biggest challenge, winning five of the nine singles matches against Wabash, going 3-3 in the top six spots and winning two of the final three spots. However, because Wabash was down two of their best singles players, the team will lose no sleep over the result.


If there’s anything to be learned for the team’s performance, it’s that the class of 2027 is ready to go. Three freshmen—Rafael Rin ’27, Sam Dziadosz ’27 and Vittorio Bona ’27—saw court time, combining to win 15 of their 16 matches. Their only loss was from Dziasodsz in a #8 singles matches that ended with a third-set tiebreaker.

The other key takeaway was how well the sophomore class handled itself in the tournament. As expected, Cole Shifferly ’26 resumed his role at #1 singles, where he went 2-1. Making a significant jump up the lineup, Augusto Ghidini ’26, who played #4 singles last season, took the #2 singles spot. Despite leaping two roster spots, Ghidini had little trouble winning all three of his matches. This duo of Shifferely and Ghidini also united for the team’s #1 doubles, where they effortlessly went 3-0.

With his first year now safely behind him, Shifferly believes he has the experience he needs to take on the best in college tennis.

“Experience is a huge part of tennis and I’m excited to get back out on court to compete,” said Shifferly. “I won two of my three singles matches last weekend at the Transylvania invite, and I only narrowly lost the third. Having said that, I feel confident that I can compete at the highest level in our conference, and hopefully, I can help lead my team to a lot of victories this year.”

The other members of the class tested out different orders in singles, where they all won at least one match.

The final takeaway is that this season’s roster is deeper than ever before. Of the nine players at the invitational, only four saw significant playing time on the main roster last season. Players like Eduardo Werneck ’26 and Blake Discher ’26, who played just outside of the top-6 lineup last season were able to fit in over

the weekend in matchups against opponents who played as high as #3 singles for the other teams.

This depth will be a major advantage during the spring season, where a grueling schedule can sap the energy from teams who have to run their top six players in every match. With the ability to call guys from the bench who can compete in those top spots, Bickett will have plenty more opportunities to rest players before the team’s biggest matches.

Looking ahead, the team will continue their fall season in a two-day tournament at Hope College, starting Friday, September 15. This will be a chance for the team to compete as individuals against players on eight different teams.