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Monday, October 21, 2013

Accepting Prize Money and Retaining NCAA Eligibility; More Collegians Earn Entry into USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships with Regional Titles

Keeping up with changes in NCAA regulations is not easy, and the recent one allowing juniors to accept prize money from pro tournaments while retaining their amateur status is one of the more radical revisions.  Previously, juniors could not accept prize money while playing a professional event, only reimbursement for expenses, but now that has changed to allow juniors to earn as much as $10,000 a year. Once a player begins college, he or she can still accept prize money, but it must not exceed what the NCAA calls "actual and necessary expenses." 

Today the Tennis Recruiting Network provides a more detailed look at the rule change, and I urge every junior, parent and coach to read it. Do not leave money on the table based on the previous restrictions if you intend to compete at any of the many Pro Circuit events around the country. Heaven knows you spend enough as it is.

The fields for next month's USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York are really starting to take shape now, with the conclusion of many of the USTA/ITA Regional championships today. 

In the men's Mountain regional, which finished yesterday, Denver's Henry Craig earned his berth in New York, defeating New Mexico's Sam Iftikhar 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.  An Idaho team will be in New York for the second straight year, with Jose Bendeck and Cristobal Ramos earning their spot with a win in the final over Boise State's Brendan McClain and Garrett Patton.

At the Central regional in Tulsa, Oklahoma's Axel Alvarez defeated teammate Dane Webb 6-3, 6-3, and will join Sooner Guillermo Alcorta in New York. Alcorta's invitation to the Indoor came via his showing at the All-American Championships, where he reached the final.  Drake's Robin Goodman and Ravi Patel won the doubles title, defeating Minnesota's Mathieu Froment and Jack Hamburg.

It's odd to have a Carolina regional without a Duke or North Carolina champion, but that's the case this fall, with Eastern Carolina's Joran Vliegen becoming his school's first regional champion. Vliegen defeated UNC's Brett Clark 7-5, 6-4 in today's final. In doubles, UNC-Wilmington's Rafael Aita and Sam Williams earned the bid to the Indoor Championships, defeating North Carolina State's Robbie Mudge and Sean Webber.  

Ohio State's Peter Kobelt had something of a disappointing start to his senior season at the All American Championships, losing in the first round of both singles and doubles, but he will be in New York for both after two titles won in tiebreakers today. Kobelt, who also won the Midwest regional in 2012, beat Greg Andrews of Notre Dame 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(2) in the singles final. Kobelt and Kevin Metka won the doubles title with a 8-7(5) victory over Andrews and Alex Lawson.

Finals in the men's Northwest, Southwest, Texas, Northeast and Atlantic regionals are Tuesday.

UCLA swept the Southwest regional, with Chanelle Van Nguyen taking the singles title by virtue of a 6-4, 6-2 win over teammate Jennifer Brady. Brady and Catherine Harrison won the doubles title, beating USC's Brynn Boren and Zoe Katz. Brady had already qualified for New York after winning the All-American doubles title with Robin Anderson, so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out in the next couple of weeks. Van Nguyen is having an outstanding fall, winning six matches at the All-American before falling to eventual champon Jamie Loeb in the first round, then taking the regional title.

At the Texas regional, the champion is Cristina Stancu of Texas A&M, who already had qualified for the Indoor as an All-American semifinalist. Stancu defeated Baylor's Kiah Generette 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Texas's Breaunna Addison and Pippa Horn won the doubles title over Stancu and Stefania Hristov.

According to this article from the Duke website, the Carolina regional women's final between No. 1 seed Beatrice Capra of Duke and No. 2 seed Hayley Carter of North Carolina was quite a battle, with Capra coming from a set and a break down to defeat the Tar Heel freshman 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a three-hour match. Carter did end up earning a trip to New York however, teaming with ITA All-American champion Jamie Loeb to win the doubles title over teammates Laura Slater and Kate Vialle.

At the Southern regional, it was all Auburn in both finals. Pluen Burgmans defeated teammate Emily Flickinger 6-3, 6-0 in the singles final, with Burgmans and Flickinger winning the doubles title with an 8-4 victory over teammates Jackie Kasler and Jen Pfiefler.

In the Southeast regional, Georgia's Silvia Garcia defeated Florida Alex Cercone 7-6(2), 6-1 in the final, with Georgia Tech's Kendal Woodard and Megan Kurey taking the doubles title over Georgia's Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase.

The Central regional singles title went to Oklahoma State's Kanyapat Narattana, who beat Oklahoma's Hermon Brhane 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. Oklahoma's Whitney Ritchie and Mia Lancaster took the doubles title over Arkansas's Yang Pang and Kimberly-Ann Surin.

The finals in the women's Northwest, Northeast, Atlantic and Ohio Valley regionals are Tuesday.

For a list of the Indoor qualifiers to date, see this CollegeTennisOnline page. For a more detailed look at the results from all this weekend's regionals, click here.