The men’s tennis team travels to Athens this weekend to open the season at the Southern Intercollegiate Championship. They will also host the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational in two weeks from Oct. 3-5. The Jackets did not have any seniors last season, so the team will not have to worry about any potential drop-off in talent.
Junior Guillermo Gomez has led the way for the Jackets on the court in his first two seasons, going 29-14 overall in singles and ending last season with a No. 12 national ranking. While playing in Tech’s No. 1 position, he went 12-6 in dual-match play. He was a top-16 seed in the NCAA Singles Tournament over the summer and reached the round of 32 before falling to Steve Johnson of USC.
Sophomore Kevin King will be another player to follow this year after a strong showing in his first season as a 17-year old freshman. In August, the left-handed King defeated the nation’s top overall junior tennis player, Alexander Domijan, in the fourth round of the USTA National Championships.
King played primarily at the No. 2 position for Tech and went 12-9 during the dual match season. His experience against top collegiate competition early in his career should help him improve in his sophomore season.
Six other players return for the Jackets, including lone senior Austin Roebuck. A quartet of juniors in Doug Kenny, Miguel Muguruza, Eliot Potvin, and Ryan Smith provide the team with a talented lineup on both the singles and doubles fronts, and sophomore Dusan Miljevic will look to improve in his sophomore season.
In addition to not losing anyone from a season ago, Tech has acquired three more players to bolster the squad. Freshman Magin Ortiga comes to Tech as the former top-ranked player in Colombia and South America. He finished in the top-10 in 2004 and 2006 at the South American Tennis Championship and held the No. 1 singles spot in Colombia in the 12, 14 and 16 age groups.
The Jackets’ other freshman this year, Juan Spir, is also from Colombia and was a top junior player in his home country. Spir has reached an ITF Junior world ranking as high as No. 48 in singles play and has earned a total of 56 singles wins, and he has competed in three World Junior Grand Slam events.
Tech acquired a transfer in junior Dean O’Brien from Tennessee Tech. O’Brien was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year last season as he posted a 19-6 overall singles record and a 12-7 mark in doubles. He had a 17-1 singles record in dual match play at their No. 1 position with an 8-0 record in conference play.
Head Coach Kenny Thorne will be entering his 12th season leading the Jackets. He has a record of 141-116 at Tech and has led his team to eight berths in the NCAA team tournament.