OMAHA, Neb. (Jan. 4) - Creighton men's tennis senior Billy Paluch is ranked at No. 91 in the first men's national singles rankings of 2013 released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Monday.
Paluch is the first Bluejay to be ranked nationally prior to the start of a spring season. The Rapid City, S.D., native is the first CU tennis player to earn a national ranking during Creighton men's tennis head coach Tom Lilly's 16-year tenure and is believed to be the first Bluejay to accomplish the feat since the early 1990's.
During the 2012-13 fall season, Paluch won the Flight A singles title of the Omaha Collegiate Invitational hosted by Creighton in September. He also partnered with freshman Brandon Lee to claim the Flight A doubles title at the event. At the ITA Central Regional Championships held in Minneapolis last October, Paluch advanced to the second round in singles as well as doubles with partner and fellow senior Ryan Norman.
"While this ranking won't help Billy or our team win any matches this spring, it is something that is very well deserved," said Lilly. "Billy has worked as hard as anyone that we have had in our program over the years, so it is nice for him to get some recognition heading into the season.
"This does not come as a surprise to me, the Missouri Valley Conference or anyone that has watched Billy play the last few years. He has a great work ethic and is very strong mentally in matches to aid his natural ability."
Paluch was one of five Valley singles players ranked among the ITA top 125 as Drake accounted for the other four. DU and Illinois State each had a doubles team ranked among the ITA top 60. Two Creighton opponents enter the 2013 season ranked in the ITA top 75 with Drake at No. 45 and in-state rival Nebraska at No. 74.
The Jays travel to Des Moines in two weeks for the MVC Individual Championships prior to kicking off the spring season with a home match against Western Illinois on Feb. 2.