The Big Ten Conference announced its 2021 men’s tennis All-Conference Teams last Tuesday. Graduate student Bennett Crane was selected All-Big Ten First Team for the Hoosiers.
Crane is in his fifth year with the program, joining the team as a five-star recruit in 2016. He has more than 120 victories in his career and has played at starting spots for both singles and doubles all five years.
“Bennett has earned this honor,” head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said Wednesday. “He’s given everything he has to his tennis over the last few years.”
The award comes a year after Crane questioned whether or not he would be able to return to the sport. With the abrupt ending of his senior season last year due to COVID-19, along with battling a serious shoulder injury, the future of his tennis career looked uncertain.
“A year ago from right about now, he was having pretty extensive shoulder surgery,” Wurtzman said. “He thought his career was over.”
Crane decided to move forward with shoulder surgery and spent six months in rehabilitation. Afterward, he chose to use his extra year of eligibility provided because of the pandemic to pursue one more season with the Hoosiers.
“He worked so hard to get back to playing at the level that he’s playing at,” Wurtzman said. “And he’s had some really good results this season.”
This is the second consecutive season Crane has received First Team All-Big Ten Honors. The first award came in his senior season in 2020, during which he was nationally ranked at No. 49 in singles and No. 42 in doubles. Crane is also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree and three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Honoree.
“For him, to also be recognized by the Big Ten, I think it’s great because it’s so much more than the results,” Wurtzman said. “It’s everything he’s had to go through to get back to playing at this level.”
Wurtzman said that he not only spoke for himself, but for the program, when he talked about Crane and his accomplishments on the tennis court.
“We’re so proud of Bennett,” Wurtzman said. “This really shows his high character and what he’s all about.”