Patriots to play in ITA Southeast Regional this weekend

Patriots to play in ITA Southeast Regional this weekend

Members of the Francis Marion University men's and women's tennis teams will play in the 2013 USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Tennis Tournament, hosted by the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, S.C.

Action begins on Friday morning (Sept. 27) at 8 a.m. and will continue through the championship matches on Monday morning at 9 a.m.  Admission is free.

Seven men's players from FMU and four members of the women's squad will compete.  Senior Tim Ruepke and juniors Gavin Davison and Eimon Heywood will play in the Men's Open Singles A Flight, while juniors Marius Wahlier and Luke Bateup and freshmen Richard Ashforth and Jannik Roettlingsberger will play in the B Flight.  Ashforth and Davison will team to compete in the Doubles A Bracket as will Heywood and Roettlingsberger, while Wahlier and Ruepke will play in the Doubles B Bracket.

Senior Kimberley Hurter, junior Julia Graf, and sophomore Nora Westbye will play in the Women's Open Singles A Flight, while freshman Natalie Stirewalt will return to her hometown and play in the B Flight.  In doubles play, Graf and Westbye will compete in the A Bracket, while Hurter and Stirewalt will play in the B Bracket.

The Francis Marion women finished the 2013 season with an 18-4 record and a No.10 national ranking, while the Patriot men were 10-7 and ranked 21st nationally.

The USTA/ITA Regional Championships feature some of the top men's and women's players across the country.  Over 8,000 student-athletes from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, Junior and Community Colleges will compete at one of the 84 USTA/ITA Regional Championships held across the country.

The A Flight singles and doubles winners from each of the Small College (NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College) Regionals will advance to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, held October 10-13 at the Three Oaks Tennis Center in Fort Myers, Fla.

The USTA/ITA National Small College Championship is the only national championship event for singles and doubles at the NCAA Division II level. The singles and doubles champions at each divisional level will then compete to become the overall "Super Bowl" champions. The "Super Bowl" champions earn wild cards into the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships with the opportunity to win the culminating event held at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.