LOGAN, Utah - Utah State men’s tennis finished the 2016-17 as the No. 1-ranked team in the Mountain Region as released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Aggies finished ahead of in-state foes Utah (No. 2) and BYU (No. 5) and ahead of Mountain West opponents UNLV (No. 3), New Mexico (No. 4) and Nevada (No. 10).
“It was really fun to be a part of this special group,” head men’s tennis coach James Wilson said. “To be ranked number one in your region is a huge accomplishment and it’s a testament to their hard work. This group put Utah State on the map within the region and around the country and I’m looking forward to next season where we will try to keep pushing forward.”
In addition to being ranked as a team, several individuals appeared in the top 20 in singles as junior Jaime Barajas finished the year No. 12; sophomore Samuel Serrano, No. 14; and senior Jack Swindells, No. 17. Swindells also finished the year ranked among the top doubles teams in the Mountain Region, appearing on the rankings at No. 10 with partner Jonas Maier.
Last season, Utah State set numerous program firsts and records. In the fall, junior Kai Wehnelt became the first Aggie to compete in the ITA Mountain Region Tournament finals, where he took second. Also, Barajas was a nationally-ranked singles player in the fall season, the first Aggie to be ranked in singles.
In the spring dual-match season, the Aggies knocked off then-No. 12 TCU on the road, ending the Horned Frogs’ 31-match home winning streak. The victory also booked USU’s first ticket to the ITA National Team Indoors, where the Aggies competed against three top-10 teams. Then, Utah State rattled off nine-consecutive victories, tying the program record for a winning streak. During the streak, the Aggies were ranked as high as No. 39 in the nation, a program-best ranking. The streak helped push USU to 23 wins, a program record for a single season.
The Aggies won the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles, qualifying for USU’s first appearance in program history as a team in the NCAA Tournament. During the last half of the season, freshman Sergiu Bucur won 13-consecutive singles matches, tying a program record for an individual. Lastly, Wehnelt and sophomore Samuel Serrano both earned all-Mountain West honors in singles and as a duo in doubles.
Throughout the course of the season, three Aggies combined to earn Mountain West Player of the Week honors six times, a program record for a single season. Wehnelt and senior Jack Swindells both set a school record by winning 26 singles matches and 48 combined wins between singles and doubles.
Fans can follow USU’s men’s tennis team on Twitter @USUMensTennis, on Facebook at UtahStateMensTennis or on Instagram at USUTennis. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.
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