Dow Corning Outreach Feature; Sanchez Takes Top Spot in New ITA Rankings; Virginia Men and Stanford Women Remain No. 1; Florida's Will in Spotlight
My weekly article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is a bit of a change of pace for me, as I look at the "bigger picture" at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland. The tournament's relationship with the community is a very special one, and the number of elementary through high school students exposed to the sport during its many programs is staggering. And if you doubt that a brief encounter with a touring pro can have any lasting impact on a youngster, read the story. You'll see just how motivating one such meeting was for six-year-old Kelli Close.
With the ITA Team Indoor Championships just days away, this week's team rankings are especially important. There was no change among the top six for the men or the women, with Virginia and Stanford maintaining the top spots. Following Virginia in the men's rankings are Southern California, Tennessee, Ohio State, Texas and UCLA. Florida's loss to Illinois on Saturday night likely cost the Gators a top 8 seed in Seattle, and the Illini, now ranked ninth, may be seeded eighth with the absence of eighth-ranked Baylor at the Team Indoor. I always like to point out the Top 16 teams who are not going to be in the field at the Indoor, and among the men, that includes Baylor, who elected not to particpate in Kick-off weekend, and Georgia Tech, whose win over Georgia last Saturday catapulted them from 21 to 15 in this week's rankings.
On the women's side, the top 8 remained the same. Stanford is followed by Florida, Baylor, North Carolina, Cal-Berkeley and UCLA. Top 16 teams not competing in Charlottesville this weekend include Georgia (10), Vanderbilt (14), Southern California (15) and Florida State (16). It's worthwhile to remember that these rankings are still done by polling. It is not until March that the computer takes over the process of ranking the teams.
There was a change at the top of the individual rankings, with USC senior Maria Sanchez taking over the top spot from Jana Juricova of Cal-Berkeley. Juricova is now fourth, with Stanford's Hilary Barte second and Notre Dame's Kristy Frilling third. Tennessee sophomore Rhyne Williams remains at the top of the men's rankings, followed by Virginia's Alex Domijan, Kentucky's Eric Quigley and USC's Steve Johnson. Virginia has five players in the Top 25. Texas A & M's Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek are still No. 1 in men's doubles, and Florida's Sofia Oyen and Allie Will keep their spot atop the women's doubles rankings. With Sanchez taking the top spot in women's singles, all four of the USTA/ITA Individual Indoor Champions are now ranked No. 1.
For the complete rankings, see the ITA website.
Will is the subject of the most recent edition of the USTA's college spotlight. With Lauren Embree's wrist surgery keeping her out of action in the fall, Will has taken Embree's place at the top of Florida's lineup and has not come close to dropping a set in her six dual match wins at No. 1 this season.