Jan. 11, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship in 2005 and earning the program’s first bid to the 2006 USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, the Florida State men’s tennis team garnered a No. 11 preseason ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), it was announced Tuesday.
“This preseason ranking is the highest it’s ever been at Florida State,” said Head Coach Dwayne Hultquist, who has led FSU to three straight NCAA Championships. “The important thing is to keep the momentum throughout the season because what matters is where you end. But, yes, I think our entire program is excited to be considered and viewed among the top teams in the country.”
At a school like Florida State, history isn’t made everyday, but the 2005 men’s tennis team stamped its name in the records and undoubtedly set a new standard for future Seminoles to follow.
Hultquist led his squad to an impressive 21-8 record and the Seminoles first trip to the Elite Eight in College State, Texas. They say in Texas that everything is bigger, including the upsets. That’s why when the No. 18 Seminoles walked away with an upset bid over No. 5 Illinois in the Sweet 16, a new precedent for the program was set. FSU ended the year with its highest-ever national ranking of No. 13.
Highlighting the Seminoles roster are five returning letterwinners including senior Chris Westerhof, juniors Ytai Abougzir, Jason Hood, and Jonathas Sucupira, and sophomore Sam Chang. Newcomers Chris Cloer, Maciek Sykut and Andrew Bailey add to Florida State’s outstanding roster.
Equally impressive as the team rankings is the fact that four-of-eight Seminoles are ranked in the Top 72 in the nation beginning with Sucupira at No. 36. He is followed by Chang (No. 49), Sykut (No. 58), and Abougzir (No. 72).
“I think it makes a strong statement that we have four players ranked in the Top 72,” said Hultquist. “Our men came out in the fall season and gave a strong showing, evident by the program’s first ever invitation to the national indoor championships. We are ready to get the season started.”
Florida State will open this season this weekend at the Sherwood Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
A Look At The Seminoles The Last Three Seasons
Year W-L-T Final Rank
2003 15-11 32
2004 10-13 47
2005 27-8 13
Name (Rank) Ht. Yr. Hometown
Ytai Abougzir (72) 5-8 JR
Andrew Bailey 6-2 FR
Sam Chang (49) 5-7 SO
Chris Cloer 5-8 FR
Jason Hood 6-4 JR
Jonathas Sucupira (36) 5-10 JR
Maciek Sykut (58) 6-1 FR
Chris Westerhof 6-1 SR