Blugolds tennis’ Palen and Fuchs compete in national cup

The doubles team traveled to Georgia to play in the ITA Cup

Thomas DeLapp

More stories from Thomas DeLapp

Swing and a Miss
May 10, 2023

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Fuchs and Palen at the regional ITA tournament.

Two Blugold women’s tennis players, Clare Palen and Samantha Fuchs, went to Berry College in Rome, Georgia, for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup this past weekend.

Doubles team Palen and Fuchs competed for the national cup, but ultimately came up short against the other Division III doubles teams.  They won one of their three matches.

The double team lost their first match on Thursday, Oct. 13, 4-6 and 3-6 to a pair from Carnegie Mellon University. In the second match on Friday, against Trinity University, they won 6-4, 2-6 (10). Their final match was again a loss, 5-7 and 2-6 against Bowdoin College.

“The doubles pair put up a fight against some of the top DIII competition in the NCAA,” said.

Fuchs, a second-year rehabilitation sciences student, said the trip was still a great experience, despite the losses.

“Overall, it was really good,” Fuchs said.  “We had a lot of good challenges, some good competition. We’ve played a lot of people, but it was a totally different environment.  People we didn’t know, from all over.”

 Palen, a third-year business economics student, said she and Fuchs were still proud to have made it to the national cup.

The ITA Cup hosts two doubles teams from each of eight national regions, with 16 total doubles draws. Fuchs and Palen placed second in UW-Eau Claire’s regional tournament — competing against Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa schools — securing a spot in the national cup.

 Moving from the regional to the national scene, Palen said, was intimidating.

“We were nervous but definitely expecting good competition,” Palen said. “Going in, we really wanted to win and do our best, and we did, but we came up a bit short.  But we won our second match, so that’s good.”

Fuchs agreed, and said the losses were partly due to nerves and getting used to the new space, but especially because of their good competition.  Playing against players you don’t already know can be harder and intimidating, Fuchs said.

Now, Fuchs and Palen are heading towards finishing out the fall season with the WIAC tournament in Whitewater on Oct. 22 and 23.  Then, they hope to pick things up again in the spring and end with the WIAC championships in April. 

Through the losses, Fuchs and Palen said they were holding onto their win and the chance to have gone to the cup. 

“There’s always room for improvement, but it was a good experience and opened my eyes to what we can do as a team, because we were pretty successful to just get there,” Fuchs said. “It’s about confidence, and knowing we have the capability to play well at a national event.”

For more information on the ITA Cup, and to see results, visit the ITA website.

For more information on UW-Eau Claire’s women’s tennis, visit

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected].