Surprise, AZ -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has released the first regional rankings for the spring season, and both West Virginia Wesleyan programs have cracked the list to start the year.
The women's team, led by All-MEC selections Irene Nunez and Rebekka Heigermoser, starts the year at the #8 position after finishing the fall season with an 8-5 record and a 4th place finish in a vastly improved Mountain East conference.
The men's team finds itself ranked at 2nd in the initial poll, after finishing third in the final 2017 ranking. The Bobcats are coming off a season in which they captured both a share of the regular season MEC title and the MEC Tournament championship.
The squad advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships, before falling at host Chowan (NC) in the round of 32, finishing 2017 with a record of 17-7, and 8-1 in MEC play.
The top 7 schools in the final women's ranking will earn an NCAA berth, something that has eluded Wesleyan for the past 9 seasons. Last year the women returned to the regional rankings for the first time in 8 years, just missing an NCAA bid.
The men's team has fared better in that stretch, earning an NCAA berth in each of the past 10 seasons, including all six during head coach Marc Walters' tenure. It is the longest current streak of postseason play for any of the men's program in the Atlantic region.
Individually, Nunez (15th) and Heigermoser (16th) are ranked in women's singles, while Lukas Laipold (8th), Ramon Rodriguez (10th),Maycon Santos Dias (15th) and Alex Lyudinovskiy (18) hold a spot in the men's ranking.
The region consists or schools from the PSAC, MEC, and CIAA as well as independent member Bluefield State.
Wesleyan men kick off the season February 9th in Charleston, WV at the UC Invitational, while the women begin their spring segment on March 17th at UVA Wise, and March 20 at home against Salem.