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Tennis Players Ranked in ITA Poll
January 12, 2006

NORMAN, Okla.   The University of Oklahoma men’s and women’s tennis teams have three players who are ranked in the top 75 in the initial Fila Collegiate Tennis rankings, released Tuesday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

Men’s tennis junior Marek Velicka, who was ranked No. 35 in singles in the fall, jumped in the rankings to No. 23. Velicka also ranks No. 20 with teammate, senior Alexei Ivanov, in the men’s doubles poll. The tandem broke into the rankings after winning the ITA Central Region Doubles Championships and advancing to the quarterfinals in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November. Velicka and Ivanov were the first Sooner duo to advance to the indoor championships since 1991.

“This is a great start for Marek in singles and Marek and Alexei in doubles,” said men’s tennis head coach Paul Lockwood. “For a team that started playing together in the fall to have the highest national doubles ranking of any OU team in the past 10 or 15 years shows that they are making great strides.”

Women’s tennis sophomore Gabby Baker, who missed the entire 2005 spring season due to an ACL injury, appeared in the singles poll at No. 73 after having played in only one tournament in the fall.

“We’re happy to see Gabby in the rankings to start the year,” said women’s tennis head coach Mark Johnson. “We expect a lot from her this spring.”

The men’s and women’s teams also appear in the team rankings at No. 42 and No. 62, respectively.

The men’s team begins spring competition at the ITA Regional Team Playoff in Tulsa from Jan. 21-22, while the women’s team  heads to Minneapolis, Minn., to play No. 11 North Carolina on Jan. 28.

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