WICHITA FALLS, Texas – The McMurry University men’s tennis doubles tandem of senior Chris Breaux and junior Casjen Rico powered its way through a field of 28 teams to win the USTA/ITA South Central Region championship. As a result, the War Hawk duo will represent the Maroon & White at the USTA/ITA Small College Nationals in Fort Meyers, Fla., Oct. 9-12 at the Three Oaks Tennis Center.
It took a series of five victories for the tandem to bring home the title: four versus representatives from fellow Heartland Conference schools and one versus a Lone Star Conference team. Breaux and Rico opened with a win over Michael Marciel and Brien Galon from St. Mary’s University, 9-7.
That was followed with an 8-3 win over the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith team of Clay Sandefur and Ryan Heslop. That set up a quarterfinals showdown versus No. 1-seeds Felix Bake/Pedro Bronstrup from St. Edwards, which was also an 8-3 win.
In the semifinals, the Breaux-Rico team overcame what would be its last big hurdle to the title, scoring an 8-6 win over the No. 3-seeded Midwestern State University pair of Kyle Davidson and Zack Santagate. In the finals, they were slated to face St. Edward’s duo of James Rogers and Max Agoglia. The tandem – whom Breaux and Rico have already comfortably defeated – elected not to continue in the tourney, giving the McMurry pair the walk-over win.
“Chris and Casjen did an outstanding job,” said McM head coach Mark Hathorn. “You could see them really click together and see the benefit of having played together for three seasons. They really showed that they were the guys to beat in this tournament.”
Overall, the McMurry teams – both men and women – had a good showing at the USTA/ITA regional event. All six McM men’s singles players, as well as all three men’s doubles team, were able to win their first round matches.
On the women’s side, the freshman-laden War Hawks had some good results in the consolation round. In doubles, McMurry had two teams – Jessica Bentley/Bree Brosig and Shayne Cook/Lauren Renner – each reach the semifinal round. Cook and fellow freshman Chloe Patterson both reached the consolation semifinals before bowing out.