NCAA Division I Individual Selections Announced; Steve Johnson of USC and Allie Will of Florida Top Seeds
Today the NCAA announced the participants and the seeds for the Division I individual tournament, which starts on May 23 and ends on May 28. The 64 singles draw and 32 doubles draw is not done until the day before the tournament, so projecting winners now, or any time before the completion of the team tournament on May 22nd, is dangerous.
I was interested to see what the committee would do with the defending champion Steve Johnson of USC, who has worked his way up to the No. 2 spot (I am using the April 24 rankings, which is all I have), but hasn't been able to dislodge freshman Mitchell Frank of Virginia, who swept the two fall majors that Johnson did not play. The committee went with Johnson, as I would have done, but aside from the recognition factor, there's not much difference between 1 and 2 anyway. Should No. 1 USC and No. 3 Virginia meet in the final, they won't play, as Frank has played No. 3 and No. 2 for the Cavaliers this season. Here are the men's seeds:
1. Steve Johnson - USC
2. Mitchell Frank - Virginia
3. Eric Quigley - Kentucky
4. Jarmere Jenkins - Virginia
5. Henrique Cunha - Duke
6. Evan King - Michigan
7. Dennis Nevolo - Illinois
8. Sebastian Fanselow - Pepperdine
Chase Buchanan - Ohio State
Artem Ilyushin - Mississippi State
Alex Musialek - Kentucky
Nick Meister - UCLA
Costin Paval - Oklahoma
Blaz Rola - Ohio State
Nik Scholtz - Ole Miss
Wil Spencer - Georgia
From the April 24th rankings, Rola, who was No. 6, dropped out of the top 8 and Fanselow moved up from No. 9. Meister was 17 in the last available ranking, but was given the seed over Baylor freshman Mate Zsiga, who was 16.
USC's top 5 made the individual singles field, and Georgia's top 4 were selected, with Hernus Pieters the first alternate. USC's Yannick Hanfmann and Emilio Gomez and several others must have overtaken Pieters in the unpublished final rankings, because he was at 52 and they were in the 53-60 range, but they are in and Pieters is not, at the moment at least.
In the doubles rankings, Johnson was in the Top 4 with two different partners, which makes it impossible to seed both, so it is his current partner, freshman Roberto Quiroz, who will get the seed, at No. 2. Ohio State's Buchanan and Rola, who swept the two fall majors, are the top seeds, with Georgia Tech's Kevin and Juan Spir No. 3 and last year's finalists Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher of Stanford at No. 4.
Johnson is one of four NCAA singles champions in this year's draws, with Cal's Jana Juricova, who won last year in Stanford, and the 2010 champions Klahn and Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia, who won the last time the tournament was played in Athens.
Allie Will of Florida is the top seed in the women's draw, and the top 5 are seeded in the same order as the April 24th rankings. The women's seeds:
1. Allie Will - Florida
2. Beatrice Capra - Duke
3. Nicole Gibbs - Stanford
4. Robin Anderson - UCLA
5. Mallory Burdette - Stanford
6. Jana Juricova - Cal
7. Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar - Texas A&M
8. Chelsey Gullickson - Georgia
Emina Bektas - Michigan
Kristi Boxx - Ole Miss
Jacqueline Cako - Arizona State
Lauren Embree - Florida
Diana Nakic - Baylor
Jillian O'Neill - Georgia Tech
Zsofi Susanyi - Cal
Zoe Scandalis - USC
Cako is the big mover here, as she was ranked 20th in the last available rankings, but bumped Anna Bartenstein of Miami, who was 16th.
There are four freshmen seeded in the women's draw: Capra, Anderson, Bektas and Scandalis. In the men's draw, there are only two: Scholtz and Frank.
In the women's doubles, Will and Sofie Oyen, who is the first alternate in singles, are top seeds, followed by Stanford's Burdette (defending champion) and Gibbs, North Carolina's Shinann Featherston and Lauren McHale and USC's Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. This is the same top four as the most recent rankings.
The complete list of women's participants is here.
Speaking of rankings, Granger at the Texas College Tennis blog found a mistake in the rankings he published earlier in the week, which he explains in this post. I am inclined to use these in place of the April 24 rankings for the team event, but I have no choice but to use the April 24 ITA rankings for the individual tournament. From the releases I've been getting from sports information departments, the majority are using the April 24 rankings too.