PASADENA, Calif. (July 31, 2015) – The Caltech men's tennis team will add three newcomers who make up the highest-rated incoming class in program history for the 2015-16 season. The class includes:
Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi)
Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell)
Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon)
Coppell, Texas / Coppell High School
Li represents a lottery ticket for the Beavers as he peaked higher than any recruit in program history, ranking among the top 270 in the country as a freshman and sophomore (his ranking has since dropped because no results have been entered). Playing #1 singles and doubles the past two seasons, he has racked up over 100 combined wins in the top slots and claimed both the singles and doubles District titles, as well as multiple District MVP honors. The team captain has also interned at UT-Southwestern in the Proteomics/Mass Spectrometry Core and earned CHS Annual Economics and Math Awards.
"Zixiao will be a big asset for us with his speed and consistency," Head Coach Mandy Gamble said. "He will really add depth to our lineup and his doubles play should be a tremendous help."
Novi, Mich. / Novi High School
Liu enters Caltech as the second-most lauded incoming freshman in program history, coming in at No. 449 in the nation on tennisrecruiting.net and ranking among the top 500 all four years in high school. A state champion and multiple-time regional and conference champion, he was also a national semifinalist in the USA Biology Olympiad and performed a research internship at the University of Michigan.
"Andre will compete for a high spot in our lineup and make a big contribution to the team," Gamble said. "He has been playing a lot of tennis over the summer and is capable of making an immediate impact."
Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon High School
The top-rated recruit in the program's history, Nguyen checks in as the No. 329 player in the nation, having ranked among the top 400 throughout his entire high school career. The three-year captain has held the #1 singles slot at Canyon High School since his sophomore year, amassing over 200 combined wins, claiming the league doubles title and earning numerous accolades, including First Team All-League (3x), Scholar Athlete (3x) and All-Academic CIF (2x). Nguyen also won the Chemistry Olympiad, participated in a UCSD Biomedical Engineering summer program and volunteers at Red Cross. His brother, Denis, was an All-American as Harvard University's #1 singles player for the past three years.
"I expect Derik to arrive extremely match-tough, having played the ITA Summer Circuit," Gamble said. "He has tons of talent and I am really looking forward to seeing his explosive game reach its full potential over his four years here."
"I am excited to have such a strong recruiting class starting this Fall," Gamble beamed. "These recruits will make our team more competitive and help us move up in the SCIAC standings. With such a big influx of talent, we should compete well at every singles spot while our doubles pairings could look very different next season and should be a real strength."
The Beavers return the entire squad from last season, which includes rising juniors Ruthwick and Sathwick Pathireddy (Irvine, Calif. / Whitney) – the all-time single-season and career doubles wins leaders – junior Morgan Lebby (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach), who ranks fifth all-time in career singles wins, and senior Rushikesh Joshi (Sunnyvale, Calif. / Archbishop Mitty), who has paired with Lebby to rank second all-time in career doubles wins.