NCAA Roundtable; Bangoura Beats Kendrick in Sarasota; Rogers a Pro?; Niland Wins Challenger; Sanchez Ready for NCAAs
As you have probably gathered, if you are a regular reader of the NCAA roundtable discussions that the Tennis Recruiting Network hosts every year, that we don't actually sit around a table and talk about the NCAAs. Instead, we are sent several questions, and we all email our answers back to the editor who then compiles them. None of the participants knows what the others will say, or even who will have the time and the inclination to participate, so there is bound to be duplication. In the first installment, out today, Erica Perkins of the USTA and I respond to the first question about conference championships by highlighting the same two teams. Thankfully, most of the other contributors have other perspectives, and provide insights from the locations where they watch college tennis. On Friday, the start of the regionals, there will be a second edition, with the contributors making their picks for the team championships. Will there be a consensus? Not likely. But pay particular attention to Marc Lucero's choice for women's champion--he correctly foresaw Duke holding the trophy last year.
In other college-related news, Sekou Bangoura Jr., who joined the Florida Gators for the spring season and has played mostly at the No. 5 position, had his biggest win in a professional tournament today on the clay courts of the Sarasota Challenger. A wild card, Bangoura beat 158th-ranked veteran Robert Kendrick 6-1, 7-5. Kendrick was a replacement for No. 3 seed Carsten Ball, who withdrew. Bangoura will play the winner of the Bobby Reynolds and Ryler DeHeart match, probably on Wednesday. Bangoura and junior Mac Styslinger received a doubles wild card and will play on Tuesday. Bangoura is, of course, due in Gainesville on Saturday for the Gators first round match against South Carolina State. See the tournament website for draws.
Former Cal star Conor Niland of Ireland won the $100,000 Israel Open Challenger yesterday and has now reached a career-high ranking of 165, which puts him ahead of countryman Louk Sorensen as Ireland's No. 1. For more on Niland, see this article from the Limerick Leader.
USC's Maria Sanchez, No. 3 in the Campbell ITA singles rankings, was the subject of this article in the Modesto Bee, which discloses she has a stress fracture in her ankle, now on the mend.
And finally, according to this story about the Indian Harbour Beach Pro Circuit singles final in Florida Today, there is no college tennis in Shelby Rogers' future.
"Following the final, Rogers declared herself a pro, making the runner-up check of $3,990 the first she has collected at a tournament. Gallovits won $7,315."