Conference Championships

Senior Erik Nyman and the Cougars will compete in the Mountain West Conference Championships this weekend. Last year the men's tennis team split the title with New Mexico and San Diego State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- As the Mountain West Conference Championships begin on Thursday April 29, the nationally ranked BYU men and women's tennis teams head to San Diego, Calif., in search of a pair of conference titles.

The men will go into the tournament as a fourth seed and begin play against Utah on Thursday at 11 a.m. The Women will enter the tournament as a No. 2 seed and face Air Force in the first round on Thursday at 9 a.m. The men beat Utah 6-1 and the women blanked Air Force in the regular season.

The BYU men are currently ranked No. 66 in the country and hold an overall record of 8-14, posting one of the toughest schedules in the country. The men's tennis team has competed against such teams as No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Stanford, No. 19 Washington, No. 24 Arizona and No. 31 Cal Berkeley.

Senior Erik Nyman, ranked No. 45, leads the BYU men's tennis team this season. Nyman has added to the Cougars last six wins and clinched wins over some of the nations best players.

The BYU women's team holds a record of 19-5 overall and a national ranking of No. 21. In the National Team Indoor Championships, the women's tennis team claimed wins over No. 5 USC, No. 14 William and Mary. Last month the Cougars trounced the University of Clemson, ranked No. 13 at the time, moving to No. 14 nationally.

Leading the Cougars to many of their wins this season is Senior Barbora Zahnova. With an overall record of 18-6 in singles and 16-8 in doubles, Zahnova has been a huge strength to the Cougar Squad this season. Zahnova is currently the 40th-ranked player in the country in singles and 24th in doubles, with teammate Sofia Holden.

Both head coaches feel confident going into the conference championships. Men's head coach Brad Pearce said this is what his team has prepared for all season. Craig Manning, women's head coach added that his team is ready for the tournament and looking forward to the competition.

"This has been our goal all year, to win the conference tournament," Pearce said. "We've had a tough season but I think it has really strengthened our team. Our guys have learned to pull it together in the tough matches."

"I'm really proud of our girls," Manning said. "They have all worked so hard and been so focused all season. If we stay humble and keep that same focus this week, we should make it to the final round."

The MWC Championships will begin Thursday and run through Saturday with the final matches set for Noon on Saturday May 1. All matches will be played in the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, California. For updates and match results for the entire Mountain West Conference go to www.TheMWC.com.