The Emory University men's tennis team will open its 2013-14 season this weekend (Sept. 20-22), as the squad heads to Sewanee, Tennessee, to compete in the USTA/ITA South Region Championships.
The event will feature top players from Division III schools in the region. The singles and doubles champions from this weekend's tournament advance to the Oct. 10-13 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Small College Championships in Fort Myers, Florida.
Emory has three of the top-eight seeds in the Main Singles Draw, with junior Eric Halpern (Rye Brook, NY) holding down the No. 2 spot. Classmate Ian Wagner (Columbus, OH) is the No. 3 seed while sophomore Rafe Mosetick (Hinsdale, IL) claims the 4th seed. At last year's event, Emory saw its six-year streak of producing the singles champion come to an end when North Carolina Wesleyan's Robert Kjellberg topped the Eagles' Alex Ruderman in the title showdown. Kjellberg returns this year to defend his crown as the top seed.
Emory will have five doubles teams competing in the A Draw of the event with Wagner and Mosetick drawing the top seed.
Besides Emory, other schools that will be represented include: Centre, Sewanee, North Carolina Wesleyan, Birmingham-Southern, Methodist, Oglethorpe, Mississippi College, Rhodes, Millsaps, Covenant, Berry and Mississippi College, Greensboro and Guilford.
The USTA/ITA National Small College Championships began in 1986 and annually crowns men's and women's singles and doubles national champions in each of the ITA's four small college divisions (NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College). These championships are the only national tournaments for singles and doubles at the NCAA Division II and NAIA level, and the only tournaments that combine the levels of Junior/Community Colleges (NJCAA Divisions I-III and the California schools). Participants are determined through these Wilson/ITA Regional Championships, which serve as qualifying tournaments. The national champions from each division square off in the "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis to determine the overall ITA National Small College Champions (who then earn berths into the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, a Division I event, in November).