By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
The men’s and women’s tennis teams kick off the fall tennis season this weekend at their respective tournaments.
The men will compete in the Lamar Invitational, while the women will be traveling to the Arkansas Invitational. Both tournaments are comprised primarily of Division I schools.
“Both tournaments are going to have real tough competition. This will give us a chance to get in some good competition against some better teams before the regional tournament in October,” said Hutton Jones, men’s and women’s tennis coach.
The Wildcats lost four players from last year’s team, but several new faces have the team prepared for a run at nationals. Freshmen Lauren Yarbrough and Collene Reynolds are among the newcomers to the women’s team this year.
“I’m really excited about this season. We played well last year but we want to do better this year. Lauren and Collene are good players; they should help us a lot,” said Kristen Chumley, one of three seniors on the team this year.
The fall season has a direct bearing on how the Wildcats are seeded in the Spring Regional Tournament. If players do well individually in the fall, a higher seed in the spring is more likely.
“The biggest thing in the fall is the ITA Regionals and Nationals. If you win at ITA, you establish your individual rankings,” Jones said. “How you do at the regionals can affect how you start out in the spring.”
Jones expressed his excitement for the team and has many goals he wants to achieve during the season.
“We are trying to get ready for the regional tournament and hopefully we will be able to send someone to nationals,” Jones said. “There’s only eight individuals and eight doubles teams who make the national tournament, so we would like to send someone. We also want to evaluate our team and get the best competition possible in the fall to get ready for team tennis in the spring.”