Buchanan wins national title
The Ohio State doubles team of New Albany native Chase Buchanan (right) and Blaz Rola won the NCAA Division I title May 28 at the University of Georgia.
There's been plenty of advice given over the years to those about to depart. Go out with a bang, some would say, while others might believe it best to go out with style. Going out on top always will be popular.
New Albany native Chase Buchanan chose all three as he wrapped up his Ohio State tennis career by winning a national title in doubles.
Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola beat Texas Tech's Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar 7-6 (4), 6-3 on May 28 at the University of Georgia to capture an NCAA Division I men's championship.
"It was really great to have that," Buchanan said. "A lot of players don't get to end their career on a win. Being able to do that was awesome. We expected to do well. But we maybe didn't expect to win."
The duo, seeded No. 1 entering the tournament, trailed early in the opening set but took a 5-4 lead before rain moved the match inside.
Buchanan and Rola became the first doubles team to win all three major collegiate titles in one season. The pair also won the D'Novo/ITA All-America Championship and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championship.
"There are a lot of doubles teams that have come out of college that haven't done that," Buchanan said. "It was exciting to think that no one else has done that before."
With a 36-4 overall record this season (18-1 against nationally ranked opponents), Buchanan and Rola's synergy on the court was evident. Their 14-0 run over the three championship tournaments was even more impressive considering it was only their second year together.
"We're on the same page," Buchanan said. "We have the same goals. We're trying to complement each other as much as we could. It helps because you don't have to worry about what your partner is thinking or doing. We never argued. We were always trying to improve."
"They always came to play and they complement each other so well, it's unbelievable what they have accomplished," coach Ty Tucker told ohiostatebuckeyes.com after the national championship match. "I'm extremely proud of both of them. Nobody deserves this more than Chase and now Blaz, too."
A five-time All-American, Buchanan has left an indelible mark on the Ohio State men's tennis program. He's sixth on the career combined wins list (220), sixth in doubles (112) and 10th in singles (108), and he holds the season record for doubles victories (44).
Buchanan also is among 16 of the nation's top men's and women's collegiate tennis players who have been named to the 2012 USTA Collegiate Team, administered by the USTA and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
Despite the accomplishments, he is modest about his success.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Buchanan said. "I was definitely pleased with how I did and I learned a ton while I was (at Ohio State). It was an unbelievable experience that I'll have with me for the rest of my life."
Not one to pause long for celebration, Buchanan began practicing on clay to prepare for a string of USTA Pro Circuit Men's Futures tournaments, which began June 18 at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. He won the singles championship there and combined with Rola to reach a doubles semifinal. Buchanan and Rola then secured the doubles title at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Innisbrook, Fla., where play began June 25.
Buchanan continued play July 2 at the Mount Lebanon Tennis Center in Pittsburgh and July 9 at the Tennis Club of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. Each tournament had $10,000 in prize money.
After playing in the June tournaments with Rola, Buchanan played solo, not that he is intimidated by singles play.
"Singles is definitely different play than doubles," Buch-anan said. "But my practice focuses mostly on singles, so getting back into it doesn't take long. I think I'm ready."