Cougars Gear Up for ITA All-American Championships

No. 53 Patrick Kawka will compete in the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships this weekend for the Cougars. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU men’s tennis team sends a record five players to Tulsa, Okla., Saturday to participate in the ITA All-American Championships.

The tournament runs Oct. 1 - Oct. 9 at the University of Tulsa, with the pre-qualifying rounds starting Saturday and qualifying rounds starting Monday. The main draw begins Thursday.

No. 53 in preseason rankings, sophomore Patrick Kawka will compete in the main draw in singles for the Cougars. The 2011 MWC and Mountain Region Freshman of the Year, Kawka was one of 48 players from across the country selected to compete in the main draw.

No. 91 Georgy Batrakov and No. 117 Spencer Smith, both named to the 2011 All-Mountain West Conference Singles Team, will compete in the qualifying rounds while freshmen Keaton Cullimore and Francis Sargeant are set to begin play in the pre-qualifying rounds.

“It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve not just had one player ranked, but three,” said BYU men’s tennis coach Brad Pearce. “I think it’s a real testament of the success of those individuals last season. They are all looking forward to picking up where they left off.”

In doubles, two BYU duos will compete in the qualifying rounds. Senior Batrakov, a member of the 2011 All-MWC Doubles Team, and Kawka will team up, while junior Smith pairs with teammate Sargeant.

Smith and Kawka participated in doubles during last year’s ITA All-American Championships, but they both fell in the first round of the qualifying rounds.

This tournament will be the second fall appearance for Kawka, Smith, Cullimore and Sargeant, who participated in the Utah Fall Tennis Classic. It will be Batrakov’s first appearance in fall play this season.

Smith won the singles title of the Utah Fall Tennis Classic, beating Cullimore in the finals. Kawka defeated Sargeant to earn third place in the tournament. Cullimore earned his second straight doubles title alongside high school senior John Pearce, son of head coach Brad Pearce. The duo narrowly edged out Smith and Sargeant in the finals, 9-7.

Carlos Lozano and Gert Vilms were the last All-Americans for BYU in 2002. There have been a total of 14 Cougar All-Americans. 

For more information on the tournament and for tournament draws, click here