Oct. 20, 2010
Three Tennessee Volunteers start singles qualifying Thursday at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships in Lexington, Ky.
Sophomore Taylor Patrick, who leads the Vols this fall with eight wins, faces ETSU's Robin Asker in the morning's opening round of qualifying. Junior Bryan Swartz plays Xavier's Blandon MacDonald. Freshman Colton Norton, who earned his first collegiate win two weeks ago at the Elon Invitational, goes against ETSU's Jeremy Bonnevalle.
A second round of qualifying is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, with the 11 winners moving into the main draw of singles. Main draw competition begins Friday with two rounds of doubles and the opening round of singles.
Three of the top 10 seeds in the tournament are from Tennessee, with senior John-Patrick Smith leading the way at No. 1. Sophomore Rhyne Williams, ranked 21st nationally, is the fifth seed, and fellow sophomore Tennys Sandgren, currently on a four-match winning streak, is seeded ninth.
Sophomore Edward Jones is also in the main draw of singles.
The Vols also have three teams in the doubles draw, two of the pairings playing together for the first time. Smith and Sandgren are the second seed in the tournament, and Williams and Jones are teaming up as a 5-8 seed. Patrick and Swartz, who have a 1-2 record together this season, are playing their third tournament as a pairing.
Champions in both singles and doubles automatically qualify for the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November. Last season, Smith reached the national tournament in singles and doubles with Davey Sandgren. Williams and Boris Conkic, who won the region title over Smith and Sandgren in the finals, also earned a tournament berth.
ITA Ohio Valley Regional Championships
Colton Norton, UT, vs. Jeremy Bonnevalle, ETSU
Taylor Patrick, UT, vs. Robin Akser, ETSU
Bryan Swartz, UT, vs. Blandon MacDonald, Xavier