PASADENA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2017) – The Caltech men's tennis team has been picked to finish in fourth place in the SCIAC, according to the Preseason Poll released by the conference this morning.
The conference's nine coaches tabbed Caltech, which qualified for the 2016 SCIAC Championships in fifth place and ultimately placed in sixth for the program's best finish in a decade, to finish just below the three national powerhouses, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges and the University of Redlands – all Top 20 programs in the entire country entering this season.
The Beavers split votes with Cal Lutheran University (30), followed closely by Whittier College (29), which narrowly escaped the first round of SCIACs with a 5-4 win over Caltech last spring. Chapman University was tabbed to finish seventh (23), with Occidental College expected to round out the conference in eighth (8).
Caltech recorded its most wins in a season (10) since 2000 last year and finished at or above .500 for the first time since 1994. In addition to notching the program's first win over a nationally ranked opponent and earning their first-ever national ranking, the Beavers rewrote a good portion of the record books, thanks in large part to the rookie trio of Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell), Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi) and Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon), who locked down the #4-6 singles spots all year. Senior Ruthwick Pathireddy (Cerritos, Calif. / Whitney) returns as the favorite to compete at #1 and the addition of four talented newcomers, including Top-100 recruit Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine), looks to have Caltech on a path to continue its quick ascent up the conference ladder and break back into the national rankings.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers open their season on Friday, Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. as they host Biola University.