On June 5 we're wishing a happy birthday to Luis Valero of men's tennis!
Luis recently concluded his freshman year with Tennessee men's tennis, notching a singles record of 18-14 and a doubles mark of 15-11 over the 2014-15 season. His 18 singles wins are the second-most on the team and the biggest of which likely came in the SEC Tournament when he rallied from a break down to win his match and clinch the Vols' 4-3 victory over Alabama. The Cali, Colombia, native has been ranked as high as No. 71 in the world junior rankings. Born this day in 1996, Valero is 19 years old today.
We're celebrating two Big Orange birthdays on this final day of April as we send happy birthday wishes to men's tennis player Bartosz Sawicki and to baseball VFL Phil Garner!
A junior from Poznan, Poland, Bart Sawicki owns a career singles record of 22-15 during his time on Rocky Top. During the 2014-15 year, Sawicki is 15-10 in singles and began his spring season at 2-1 at the No. 5 position in UT's singles lineup. In the fall, he won his first collegiate singles title after claiming three matches to win the second flight of the UTC/Steve Baras Fall Classic. Born this day in 1992, Sawicki is 23 years old today.
As an infielder out of Jefferson City, Tennessee, Garner played 15 seasons in the majors before transitioning to a manager role. He made his Major League debut in 1973 with the Oakland Athletics and made stops with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants before ending his playing days in 1988. Four years later, in 1992, Garner became the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent seven seasons in Milwaukee before taking over for the Detroit Tigers in 2000. His last stint as manager came from 2004-07 when he led the Houston Astros. Under his leadership, the Astros made a World Series appearance in 2005.
Walter is a senior on the track and field squad, specializing in distance. He has competed on the cross country team, as well as the indoor and outdoor track teams, all three seasons at UT. A Knoxville native who attended Bearden High School, Walter recently established a new personal-best in the men's 5000-meter run at the Tennessee Relays Powered by Sea Ray. With a time of 14:22.25, he broke his previous career-best by almost 30 seconds. Born this day in 1993, Walter is 22 years old today.
A sophomore from Adelaide, Australia, Schipanski is in the midst of his sophomore season on Rocky Top. He holds a singles record of 10-9 and a doubles mark of 13-6 through his first year with the program. This spring, he has secured a pair of ranked wins as he defeated No. 52 Jon Ho of Wake Forest and No. 39 Harrison Adams of Texas A&M. Tennessee men's tennis is in action this weekend at the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas. The Vols open play against Alabama at 12 p.m. ET.
It's April 13 and we've got a pair of VFL birthdays to celebrate! Today we're wishing a happy birthday to former men's tennis standout Jarryd Chaplin and, from the archives, baseball legend Ben Cantwell.
A native of Sydney, Australia, Chaplin wrapped up a four-year career at Tennessee last season. He finished his time at Tennessee with a singles record 62-55 to go along with his career doubles mark of 72-43. He was second team All-SEC as a junior in 2013 and claimed three doubles titles over his career. Born this day in 1992, Chaplin is 23 years old today.
Cantwell was born in 1902 in Milan, Tennessee, and played baseball at UT from 1922-25. He moved on to professional baseball in 1926 and made his major league debut in 1927 with the New York Giants. He was later traded to the Boston Braves. In 1933, Cantwell won 20 games as a starter for the Braves, becoming just the second pitcher out of the SEC to record 20 wins in a season in the major leagues. Cantwell passed away in 1962 at age 60.
During his first season with the Tennessee men's tennis program, Jones holds a singles record of 8-7 and a doubles mark of 2-2. The Warner Robins, Georgia, native opened his collegiate career with a ranked victory when he defeated No. 94 Alex Arovin of Tennessee Tech (6-1, 6-2) in the opening round of the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. Jones turns 19 years old today.
A five-star wide receiver from Hampton, Georgia, Williams became one of the newest members of Team 119 back on National Signing Day in February. He played his prep career at Lovejoy High School, where he was named first team All-State and earned an invitation to the 2015 Under Armour All-Star Game. He had 43 catches for 916 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior despite missing a portion of the year with a knee injury. Williams is 18 years old today.
From one of our newest Vols to one of our newest VFLs, defensive back Coleman wrapped up his UT career last fall with 157 career tackles and five career interceptions. Coleman was recently invited to the 2015 NFL Combine, where he recorded the fastest 3-cone drill time of any participant (6.61). He was also third among cornerbacks in both the bench press (20 reps) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.21). Today Coleman celebrates his 22nd birthday.
A defensive back for Vol football from 2002-06, Wade also starred on the track and field team, making his mark in the outdoor relays. His 4x100-meter relay team in 2003 recorded the program's second-fastest time in the event all-time. On the football field, he earned All-SEC honors in 2006 after leading Tennessee in pass deflections and interceptions. Wade was the 84th pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, taken by the St. Louis Rams. He is 31 years old today.
One of Tennessee Basketball's all-time greats, Lofton was the 2007 SEC Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game. That year, he led the Volunteers to the Sweet 16 and was named a second team All-American. As a senior in 2007-08, Lofton passed Allan Houston to become UT's career-leader in three-pointers made, and not long after that, passed Pat Bradley of Arkansas to capture the record for most career treys all-time in the SEC. Following his collegiate career, Lofton went on to play professionally in Turkey, Spain, and Russia. He is currently under contract with Besiktas -- a Turkish team based out of Istanbul.
Happy birthday Jess, Preston, Justin, Jonathan, and Chris!
It's March 26 and we've got some 'happy birthday' wishes to a pair of UT freshman: David Heron of swimming and diving and Igor Smelyanski of men's tennis!
A redshirt freshman from Mission Viejo, California, Heron already ranks second all-time at UT in both the 1000-yard freestyle (9:04.34) and the 1650. In just his very first race of the 2014-15 season, he broke UNC Wilmington's 19-year-old-pool record by swimming a 9:11.21 in the 1000 Free. Heron is slated to compete this week in the 500 Free and 1650 Free at the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships in Iowa City, Iowa. His 500 prelim begins today (Thursday) at 12 p.m. ET with finals slated for tonight beginning at 8 p.m. Today is Heron's 20th birthday.
Smelyanski, a native of Beer Yaaqov, Israel, is in the midst of his true freshman season with the men's tennis program at UT. Thus far he owns a singles record of 10-8 and a doubles mark of 10-5 -- a record that includes the 2014 Southern Intercollegiate Championship with teammate Andrew Dromsky. Before arriving on Rocky Top, Smelyanski achieved a career-high ATP ranking of 721 in singles and 808 in doubles. Those marks gave the Vols three active players with a tour ranking inside the top 900 to begin the year. He is 20 years old today.
Creighton is a native of Haverhill, Florida, and recently completed her true freshman season with the Tennessee women's soccer program in 2014. She appeared in 16 matches on the season, logging three goals and one assist. Her first career goal came in the 40th minute of a home match against Mississippi State in late September. She is an elementary education major and turns 18 years old today.
Metz is a junior coxswain with the rowing program and is a native of Fayetteville, New York. This season she placed fourth at the Chattanooga Head Race in Women's College 4+ with a time of 18:52.3. The political science major began her collegiate rowing career at SMU before transferring to Rocky Top. She is 21 years old today.
Williams played varsity tennis for his hometown University of Tennessee from 2009-11, piecing together two of the best seasons in program history in 2010 and 2011. During those years, he captured consecutive All-America honors and earned the ITA's No. 1 ranking in 2011 en route to reaching the NCAA Singles Championships. He finished his career with a singles record of 83-17 and a doubles mark of 66-14. Williams now competes on the ATP World Tour.
Annacone played three years of varsity tennis for the University of Tennessee from 1982-84. He was a three-time All-SEC and All-American performer for the Vols and was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year in 1984. That year, he went 51-3 in singles matches while winning the ITA Indoor Singles Championship. He racked up 115 career victories for UT in his three seasons on Rocky Top. Annacone went on to play on the ATP Tour from 1985-92 and later served as coach to World No. 1s Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. He was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame in 2002.
A Knoxville native, Colquitt served as UT's punter from 2005-08. He closed out his career ranked second on UT's all-time punting list with an average punt of 42.569 yards and recorded a career-long 71-yard punt during his senior season in 2008. He went undrafted in the 2009 NFL draft but was signed to the Denver Broncos active roster later that year. This upcoming season with mark his seventh with the Broncos organization.
Here are the new ATP rankings as of Sept. 29, 2014:
Singles: 211 (-4)
Doubles: 301 (+1)
Note: Lost in first round last week at the $50K Napa Challenger ... Playing this week at the $100K Sacramento Challenger, where he won in the opening round.
Singles: 230 (-1)
Doubles: 77 (-8)
Note: Lost in first round of singles and doubles quarterfinals last week at the $50K Napa Challenger ... Playing this week at the $100K Sacramento Challenger, where he and Hubble started with a doubles win.
Singles: 310 (-4)
Doubles: 273 (+14)
Note: Lost in the first round last week at the $50K Napa Challenger ... Playing this week at the $100K Sacramento Challenger.
Singles: 897 (+2)
Doubles: 738 (-107)
Note: Off last week ... Off this week.
Singles: 1323 (+7)
Doubles: 887 (+210)
Note: Jumped 200 spots in the doubles rankings by reaching quarterfinals with Smith at the $50K Napa Challenger ... Won opening doubles round Monday with Smith at the $100K Sacramento Challenger.
Singles: 2063 (+4)
Doubles: 1354 (+2)
Note: Back in Knoxville training ... Returning to competition for a series of Australian Futures in October.