MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 18) - The Creighton men's tennis team will send two players to compete in the 2012 Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Central Regional Championships at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis beginning Thursday.
Creighton men's tennis head coach Tom Lilly will direct seniors Billy Paluch and Ryan Norman at the Regional. Each Jay will begin play Friday in the singles main draw and compete in the doubles main draw as a team this weekend.
Paluch won the Flight A singles title last month at the Omaha Collegiate Invitational hosted by Creighton. He partnered with freshman Brandon Lee to claim the Flight A doubles title at the event as well.
Norman finished fourth in the Flight A singles draw in Omaha. He and sophomore Elliot Baker teamed up to take third in the Flight A doubles title.
The pair of Jays joins athletes representing 17 schools from the region that will participate as individuals in both singles and doubles draws this weekend. The doubles draw consists of 42 teams while the singles draw is filled out with 99 players.
Thursday opens with three singles qualifying rounds. Main draw singles and doubles action begins on Friday. Consolation draws for both singles and doubles will ensure each entrant at least two matches at the Championships. The finals are set for Monday.
Main draw brackets will be released Thursday evening. Live video for the event provided by Minnesota can be found here: http://www.gophersports.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/live-video.html. Live stats will also be provided here: http://www.gophersports.com/livestats/w-tennis/tennis-stats.html.
Players representing four fellow Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) programs will join the Bluejays at the Championships including athletes from Bradley, Drake, Southern Illinois and Wichita State.
Athletes from three Big Ten schools including in-state rival Nebraska, Iowa and host Minnesota will participate this weekend. Three Summit programs and two Big 12 schools also are represented along with Arkansas of the SEC, Tulsa of Conference USA, St. Louis of the Atlantic 10 and SIUE of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Six schools represented in the Regional finished the 2012 season rated in the final ITA national team rankings: Oklahoma (No. 10), Tulsa (No. 17), Minnesota (No. 36), Drake (No. 47), Arkansas (No. 58) and Nebraska (No. 73).
Nine players in the singles draw appear in the 2012-13 ITA preseason rankings including No. 6 Costin Paval (Oklahoma), No. 28 Guillermo Alcorta, (Oklahoma), No. 44 Clifford Marsland (Tulsa), No. 50 Leandro Toledo (Minnesota), No. 57 Dane Webb (Oklahoma), No. 87 Rok Bonin (Minnesota), No. 88 Anis Ghorbel (Drake), No. 93 Matheus Pereira (Wichita State) and No. 97 Peerakit Siributwong (Oklahoma).
Seven doubles tandems from the region are also ranked in the ITA preseason rankings including the top-ranked team of Paval and Webb (Oklahoma), No. 32 Bonin and Toledo (Minnesota), No. 49 Hall Fess and Greg Lehmann (Arkansas), No. 50 Tristan Jackson and Grant Ive (Tulsa), No. 53 Manfred Jeske and Mike Nott (Arkansas), No. 55 Garret Dunn and Michael Swank (Iowa) and No. 59 Ghorbel and James McKie (Drake).
The Central Regional Championship is one of 12 USTA/ITA Regional Championships for NCAA Division I men taking place this weekend on campuses throughout the country. The singles and doubles champion from each regional gain automatic entry into the 2012 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships Nov. 8-11 at the indoor facilities at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.