The Texas A&M men’s tennis team opens the fall season at the eighth annual Baylor HEB Intercollegiate Invitational on Sept. 26-28 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco, Texas.
The three-day tournament will feature 22 players currently ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason rankings including senior All-American and team captain Conor Pollock (San Antonio, Texas), who is ranked 17th nationally in singles. He is among five returners from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad which includes junior Chris Chirico (Philadelphia, Pa.), sophomore Kayvon Karimi (Dallas, Texas), sophomore All-American Austin Krajicek (Brandon, Fla.) and sophomore Wil Spencer (Ponce de Leon, Fla.). Krajicek and Spencer are also ranked No. 97 and No. 102 respectively.
“We are looking forward to competing this weekend,” said Texas A&M head coach Steve Denton who enters his third season in Aggieland. “The HEB Invitational is consistently a strong tournament field with top players from the Big 12, SEC, Big Ten and schools in our region. It will give our players the opportunity to face some of the best players in the nation early on in the season.”
There are some new and old faces to the tennis program with the additions of local freshman product Austin Klores (Franklin, Texas), freshman Colin Hoover (Victoria, Texas), sophomore Patrick Dean (Dallas, Texas) and junior Marcus Lunt (San Antonio, Texas), who returns to the team after serving a two-year Mormon mission.
“First and foremost, we really have great team chemistry this year,” Denton said. “That’s going to help us out a lot combined with our strong work ethic. Our players are coming to work every day in practice with a lot of excitement and focus. We are on track to have a really good season based on our preseason practices.”
Pollock and Krajicek, the top-seeded doubles tandem in the field, are ranked No. 4 nationally, while teammates Spencer and Chirico are ranked No. 45. Pollock and Krajicek are looking to continue their success from the 2007-08 season, which saw the pair reach the NCAA Doubles Championship semifinals for the first time in school history.
A&M is one of 19 schools to have players competing in the tournament draw along with host Baylor, Fresno State, Nevada, Wichita State, Oklahoma State, Indiana, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UT Arlington, Portland, Texas, Air Force, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas, UTSA, New Mexico State, Rice and TCU.
Play begins on Friday and concludes on Sunday. The tournament will consist of two 64-player singles draws, flights A and B, as well as a 32-team doubles draws in both flights A and B.