CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2015) – A combined nine Beavers will compete for the Caltech men's and women's tennis teams in the invitation-only USTA/ITA Division III West Regional Championships beginning Friday, Oct. 2 and running through Sunday, Oct. 4 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.
Two returners and all three freshman recruits made the cut for Caltech in this Fall's tournament. Rookie Julia Reisler (Dallas, Texas / Green Hill) and junior Sophia Chen (Newport Beach, Calif. / Corona Del Mar) will kick things off at 9:45 a.m. facing sophomore Emily Kuo of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges and sophomore Areli Martinez of the University of La Verne, respectively. Kuo split time between #5 and #6 singles for the Sagehens last spring while Martinez played at #6 for the Leopards. Chen moved up from the #3 spot all the way to #1 for the Beavers and Reisler is Caltech's highest-ranked incoming freshman at No. 361 in the nation.
Sophomore Vinci Chen (Austin, Texas / Westwood) faces sophomore Grace Hruska from Pomona-Pitzer at 10 a.m. while freshman Cece Andrews (Orinda, Calif. / Miramonte) is set for a 10:15 a.m. start against freshman Jessie Cruz of CMS. Hruska posted a 10-3 record at #4 singles for the Sagehens and Cruz enters college as a three-star recruit ranked No. 212 in the country. Chen played at all six singles courts for Caltech in 2015, with a high of six matches at #2, while Andrews comes to Caltech with a runner-up finish in the North Coast Division I Championship and a share of the Diablo Foothill Athletic League title under her belt but faces the toughest draw with a potential matchup against #2 overall seed Natalie Etchegaray of the University of Redlands.
Freshman Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) hits the court last at 11 a.m., when she will face off with Whittier College sophomore Gabi Etchegaray, the Poets' #3 singles player last spring. Moriyama improved her recruiting ranking each year in high school, culminating in her rating as the No. 8 player in Washington state and No. 452 in the nation.
The second round of singles play immediately follows the opening round, with doubles set for the early afternoon. Chen/Chen drew the #3 overall seed in senior Lea Lynn Yen/freshman Caroline Casper while Moriyama/Reisler will pair up to take on #7 seed sophomores Emily Chen/Maryann Zhou – both Pomona-Pitzer duos which include one player from a ranked West region team last spring.
Three of the four men open bright and early at 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning, with all four fortunately avoiding potential top-five seed matchups through the second round. Junior Morgan Lebby (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach) is set to face Whittier junior David Stanko, who played at both top singles spots last season for the Poets while Lebby locked down the #4 spot in the Beavers lineup. Freshmen Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi) and Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) drew Pomona-Pitzer three-star freshman Sam Gearou and Cal Lutheran University senior Gio Valdez, who went 7-8 at #3 singles for the Kingsmen in 2015. Liu and Nguyen represent the top-rated freshmen in program history, with Liu boasting a No. 449 ranking and Nguyen No. 329. Freshman Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) arrives for a 9:30 a.m. start, when he will face CLU's highly rated Amirardalan Safi, a three-star recruit who skyrocketed to No. 170 in the nation over the past two years.
In the doubles draw, Lebby/Li will square off against #5 seed CLU pairing Jesse A. Knight/Ian Slater while Liu/Nguyen will partner against the Pomona-Pitzer duo of four-star freshman Joshua Gearou and sophomore Marko Mandic.
Rankings taken from tennisrecruiting.net.