CMS Men's Tennis Ranked No. 6 in Preseason ITA Poll

CMS Men's Tennis Ranked No. 6 in Preseason ITA Poll

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's tennis team, which reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships a year ago, earned the No. 6 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III preseason rankings, it was announced on Thursday.

Defending national champion Middlebury held down the top spot, followed by Bowdoin, Chicago, Emory and Williams in the top five. CMS was ranked No. 6, the highest for any team in the West Region, and was followed by Amherst, Gustavus Adolphus, Washington University and Carnegie Mellon in the top 10. 

The Stags enter the new season optimistic that they can challenge for a national title, after winning the program's second crown in 2015 and a runner-up finish to Emory in 2017. CMS returns its entire line-up from a year ago, including two of the top three singles players in the nation last year in junior Nikolai Parodi and sophomore Jack Katzman

Parodi ended last year ranked No. 2 in the nation in singles, although he studied abroad in the fall and as a result isn't in this year's preseason rankings. Katzman, who finished second in last year's NCAA Division III singles championships, is currently ranked No. 4 in the ITA rankings, after reaching the finals of the ITA West Regionals in September. 

Unlike a year ago, when the team only had one senior on the roster, this year's squad has more veteran depth with three seniors. Julian Gordy, a two-time All-American in doubles, is serving as one of the team captains, and is joined in the Class of 2019 by Alfred Simental and Avinash Vemuri.

Junior Daniel Park, who was also studying abroad in the fall, will serve as the other team captain, and heads a deep junior class of seven players, along with Parodi. Jake Berber, Oscar Burney, Matthew Jacobs, Jake Williams and Jay Yeam are also returning to the Class of 2020. 

Joining Katzman in the sophomore class is Robert Liu, who is currently ranked No. 46 nationally in singles, and Casey Morris. The team's two freshmen, Nic Meister and Ethan Carroll, had an immediate impact in the ITA West Regionals in the fall, with Carroll knocking off the defending champion (Chase Lipscomb of Redlands) in the first round and Meister advancing to the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles. 

The Stags will open up their fall season on Feb. 23, hosting a pair of matches, taking on Brandeis at 10 a.m. and Hope International at 6 p.m. at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center.