May 2, 2002
ATLANTA – The 22nd-ranked Georgia Tech women’s tennis team earned its third-straight at-large berth into the NCAA Championships when the field of 64 teams was announced on Thursday evening. The Yellow Jackets (14-9) will travel to Lexington, Ky., to face Michigan (14-10) in the first round of competition on May 10. The first two rounds will be held at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center on the campus of University of Kentucky. Along with the team berth, junior Jaime Wong became the first Tech women’s singles player to earn a bid into the NCAA singles championship, which will get under way on May 20 in Palo Alto, Calif.
“The girls worked really hard this year and I think it’s time for us to take another step with our program and advance to the round of 16 at Stanford this year,” said Tech head coach Bryan Shelton. “I thought we played well at the ACC Tournament and lost a tough match to a very good Duke team and coming off of that, the girls are ready to go. I think that someone will have to play well to beat us in Kentucky.”
The Jackets’ 2002 appearance will be only the third in the history of the program, as 2002 ACC Coach of the Year Bryan Shelton has led Tech to the NCAAs in each of his three seasons at the helm. This year’s trip to Lexington will be the shortest distance-wise of the three for the Jackets, as they traveled to California each of the past two years, posting a 1-2 record in three previous matches.
Wong and freshman Catherine Gunn, both of whom are currently ranked in the latest ITA poll, will lead Tech into this year’s tournament. Wong is currently the nation’s 55th-ranked player and is second on the team with 20 singles victories on the year, with nine of those coming in dual match competition. Gunn is the nation’s 70th-ranked singles competitor and leads the Jackets with 25 singles victories, with a team-high 18 of those coming in dual-match play.
“This is the first time that our program has had someone get into the NCAA singles championship and it’s really big for us,” said Shelton. “It’s also good for Jaime. She had to take on a lot of responsibility for our team this year, moving up to the No. 1 singles spot along with being one of our captains. She really competed well all year and hopefully now that her teammates have seen her do this, they will look to do the same thing themselves next year. I know all of her teammates wanted to see her make it into the field.”
The winner of the match between Georgia Tech and Michigan will advance to face the winner of top-seeded Kentucky (16-8) and fourth-seeded Boston University (12-8) in the second round with that winner advancing to the round of 16 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. The full draw for the tournament is available at www.ncaachampionships.com.