ATLANTA (May 1, 2013)—Georgia State men’s tennis seniors Lucas Santa Ana and Victor Valente will become the first doubles team in Georgia State men’s tennis history to compete at the NCAA Doubles Championship after earning an automatic qualifier to the tournament field released on Wednesday. Valente also earned a first-time bid as an automatic qualifier in the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship, which invites the Top 64 singles players in the country.
Santa Ana and Valente earned the Sun Belt Conference’s bid to the doubles tournament, one of 12 automatic qualifiers in the country. 32 doubles teams in total are invited to the tournament with 20 at-large selections filling out the field. Santa Ana and Valente are ranked No. 58 in the latest ITA National Doubles rankings released on April 23 and own a 14-2 record this season. They have set school records this season for the highest ITA National Ranking (#38 on Mar. 12) and highest nationally-ranked victory (Feb. 28, vs. #3 Juan Spir-Vikram Hundal of Georgia Tech).
Valente is ranked No. 64 in the latest ITA National Singles rankings with a 19-4 singles record this season (7-2 vs. nationally-ranked opponents). He qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship as the automatic qualifier from the Sun Belt Conference, one of 19 automatic qualifiers in the country. The 64-person bracket, along with the 32-team doubles bracket, will be released just prior to the beginning of both tournaments on May 22.
"I could not be more proud of my two seniors, they have worked so hard to be in this position and deserve to compete in the NCAA’s,” first-year head coach Joerg Barthel said. “We will make sure to be ready for the challenge in the biggest tournament of the year and go after it. They are both very excited to share this moment together.”
The last Georgia State men’s tennis student-athlete to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship was Martin Stiegwardt in 2007. The Panthers have never had a doubles team ranked higher than No. 55 prior to this season. This is the first season in school history in which both the Georgia State men’s and women’s teams will send a singles and doubles participant to the NCAA Championships. On the women’s side, junior Abigail Tere-Apisah earned the Sun Belt Conference singles bid and Tere-Apisah with sophomore Masa Grgan earned the conference’s doubles bid.
The Georgia State men’s tennis team (15-10) is in the midst of preparing for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship. It earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Regional hosted by Vanderbilt University and will take on the No. 29-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini on May 10 in Nashville, Tenn.
Visit the men’s tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com for all coverage of the team tournament as well as singles and doubles tournaments.