COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M men’s tennis team debuted at No. 25 in the preseason ITA/FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings released on Tuesday.
Led by second-year head coach Steve Denton, the Aggies return five letterwinners from last year’s NCAA Championship squad including junior All-Big 12 Conference standout Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas) and sophomore transfer Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.) who are ranked No. 23 and No. 89 nationally in singles. Pollock advanced to the prestigious ITA National Indoor Championships in the fall and upset the No. 2 player in the country to establish himself as one of college tennis’ best leading into the season.
In addition, A&M returns two-time All-American Jerry Makowski (Bradenton, Fla.), senior Matt Bain (Georgetown, Texas), senior Mike Beatty (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Stephen Shields (Austin, Texas). Freshman Kayvon Karimi (Dallas, Texas) is one of four newcomers to the program and was one of the top recruits in the Lone Star State a year ago.
The Aggies boast one of the nation’s top recruiting classes with the signings of freshman Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.) and Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) for the spring season. Spencer was the second-highest rated player in the Class of 2008 by the Tennis Recruiting Network, while Krajicek was rated the seventh-best prospect nationally.
Ten top 25 opponents highlight the 2008 spring schedule including two of the last four national champions in No. 17 Pepperdine on March 15 in Malibu, Calif., and fourth-ranked Baylor on April 2 in College Station. A&M will face seventh-ranked Texas in the Texas Cup on Feb. 8 in Houston and in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown on Feb. 8 in Austin.
The Aggies also take on the likes of No. 22 Boise State on Jan. 27, No. 23 Tulsa on Feb. 10, No. 19 LSU on Feb. 23, No. 16 Duke on Feb. 29, No. 18 Florida State on March 2, No. 15 Wake Forest on March 10 and No. 11 Oklahoma State on March 30. A&M opens the spring season against Clemson on Jan. 25 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m.
ITA/FILA COLLEGIATE TENNIS PRESEASON MEN’S TENNIS TEAM RANKINGS
1. Virginia (27)
2. Georgia (10)
3. Ohio State
10. North Carolina
11. Oklahoma State
12. Notre Dame
15. Wake Forest
18. Florida State
20. North Carolina State
22. Boise State
25. Texas A&M