Oct. 20, 2003
This Week: The Iowa men’s tennis team will travel to East Lansing, MI, to compete at the ITA Omni Orrington Midwest Regionals. Competition will run Thursday thru Tuesday at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility and the Michigan Athletic Club.
The Competition: The tournament field includes 31 schools from the Midwest. Competition gets underway Thursday with the singles qualifying rounds. Eight finalists from the qualifying round will be entered into the field of 64 in the main draw beginning Saturday. The doubles competition will begin Saturday. The winner and runner-up in singles and doubles champion automatically qualify for the ITA national championships in early November. Competing for Iowa in the qualifying round will be sophomore Chaitu Malempati and freshmen Walter Valarezo and Jonny Hoak. Sophomore Parker Ross will begin competition in the main draw. Ross and Malempati, Hoak and freshman Ryan Reid and Valarezo and sophomore Aaron Schaechterle will compete in doubles.
Past Success: The Hawkeyes have had previous success at the ITA Regional event. In 1999, Tyler Cleveland was crowned champion after completing the tournament without losing a set. Last year Stuart Waters advanced to the quarterfinals.
Hawkeyes Fare Well at Wisconsin Invitational: Iowa had its first taste of head-to-head competition at the Wisconsin Invitational. The Hawkeyes competed in mock-dual singles and doubles competition against Northern Illinois, Marquette, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Ross Continues Fall Success: Parker Ross is coming off a solid outing at the Wisconsin Invitational where he posted a singles record of 3-2 to improve his overall season record to 4-4. Last fall Ross led the team with a 5-2 record.
Schaechterle Improves in Singles: Aaron Schaechterle improved his singles record to 4-4 after going 3-2 at the Wisconsin Invitational. Schaechterle went undefeated in his final day of competition with a singles victory over Nebraska’s Tanner Gates. He also teamed with freshman Walter Valarezo to defeat Marquette’s Ricky Servoss and Eigis Vendrikas.
Head Coach: Steve Houghton, the dean of Big Ten tennis coaches, is in his 23rd season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Houghton has a career record of 258-243 (.515). He became the winningest coach in Iowa tennis history in 1992 and is a member of the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. He has coached 10 players to 17 all-Big Ten selections including Tyler Cleveland, who became the first men’s player in Big Ten history to be named two-time Big Ten Player of the Year. Four of Houghton’s athletes have also been selected Big Ten Sportsman of the Year.
Quoting Houghton: “This is the first of our two biggest tournaments for the fall season. We are going into this weekend with injuries and a lot of inexperience. This will be a good event to help prepare the team for the Big Ten singles tournament and the upcoming dual season.”