The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's and women's tennis teams are set to host the 30th annual UTC Steve Baras Fall Classic tennis tournament this weekend. Over 120 collegiate tennis players will make their way to the Scenic City for one of the top fall tournaments in the southeast.
A total of 12 schools will be represented at the Champions Club from Sept. 28-30. This is the 11th year the prestigious Champions Club has hosted the event.
The women's draw will feature over 60 players from eight schools, including Chattanooga, UAB, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb and Lee.
The men's draws will be made up of competitors from 11 teams, including Chattanooga, UNCG, ETSU, Jacksonville State, Lipscomb, Middle Tennessee, South Carolina, Kennesaw State, Lee, The Citadel and Samford.
The women will be broken into eight singles and four doubles draws. All nine of the Lady Mocs will be in action, led by three-time All-Southern Conference senior Jenna Nurik (Roswell, Ga.). Nurik is the lone senior on the Lady Mocs' squad and is looking to build on a strong 2012 campaign.
UTC finished 16-6 last season, the most wins for the program since 1999. Head coach Jeff Clark is in the sixth year of his second stint at the helm of the program. He also welcomes back 2012 SoCon Freshman of the Year Kaylene Chadwell (Franklin, Tenn.). Nurik and Chadwell are currently ranked No. 58 in doubles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
Also returning for the Lady Mocs are junior Alexa Flynn (Memphis, Tenn.) and sophomore Claire Mulyadi (Semarang, Indonesia). They are joined by the No. 9 ranked mid-major recruiting class according to TennisRecruiting.net. The freshmen include four-star signees Kelsey Coots (Huntsville, Ala.), Kayla Jones (Memphis, Tenn.) and Katie Polk (Woodstock, Ga.), as well as three-star prospect Alison Storie (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Oklahoma State transfer Jovana Pecovski (Apitan, Serbia).
"We have a solid core of returning players that we are mixing in with some very talented freshmen," stated Clark. "The level of competition that we expect this weekend will definitely prepare us for what we will see when conference play begins in the spring."
The men will compete in four singles and doubles flights in the three day event. UTC is loaded with seven seniors on the roster, including Manuel Barroetavena (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Ankit Chopra (Chandigrah, India), Stephen Crofford (Franklin, Tenn.), William Disterdick (Hixson, Tenn.), Chris Smith (Johnson City, Tenn.), Jackson Tresnan (Apopka, Fla.) and Roberto Vieira (Bedfordview, South Africa).
Vieira is a three-time All-SoCon performer but is battling a nagging injury. He will only compete in doubles this weekend. Barroetavena and Smith are in the top flight with Tresnan in the second group. Chopra and sophomore Pavels Grigorjevs (Riga, Latvia) are in the No. 3 flight while Crofford and Disterdick are playing in No. 4.
Head coach Carlos Garcia guided the Mocs to a 14-9 record last season, their most wins since 2007. Garcia is in his 12th year of leading the Mocs and has seen the team's win totals increase in each of the last three seasons.
"The Baras is one of the top fall collegiate tournaments in the region and we look forward to hosting it every year," stated Garcia. "We have an experienced team that has been working hard to improve on last year's results. The competition they will face this weekend will give us a good idea on where we stand."
The Steve Baras Memorial Scholarship is an endowment in memory of former men's tennis student-athlete Steve Baras who graduated from UTC in 1974. Over the 30-year history of the endowment, this scholarship has provided assistance for a men's or women's tennis player each season. The current recipient of scholarship is senior Manuel Barroetavena. For more information on the Steve Baras Memorial Scholarship, contact UTC Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development Andrew Horton at Andrew-Horton@utc.edu.
Action begins at the Champions Club on Friday, Sept. 28, at 8:30 a.m. (E.D.T.). Be sure to check back to GoMocs.com for updated results and draws each day.