No. 3 Men's Tennis earns four bids to NCAA Individual Championships
AUSTIN, Texas -- The third-ranked University of Texas men's tennis program received a whopping four bids Thursday to the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships to be held later this month at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Senior Callum Beale (Adelaide, Australia) and sophomore All-American Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.) earned their second NCAA singles bids in as many seasons, while senior Roger Gubser (Laredo, Texas) collected his first career NCAA singles berth. Freshman Miguel Reyes Varela (Cuernavaca, Mexico), in just his semester at Texas, picked up a NCAA doubles bid with Beale, marking the first NCAA doubles appearance for each competitor.
The four NCAA bids mark the most individual NCAA bids in a single season for Texas during coach Michael Center's six-year tenure and is Texas' largest haul of postseason bids since the 1993 season, when the Longhorns collected three singles bids (David Draper, Anders Eriksson, Ian Williams) and one doubles berth (Anders Eriksson/Trey Phillips). Texas joins Georgia and Illinois as the only schools with four NCAA individual bids.
Beale, ranked 47th by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), sports an 18-9 overall singles record and a 15-9 mark in dual-match play. The Australian tallied victories over several top-50 opponents, including 14th-ranked Somdev Devvarman of Virginia, 29th-ranked Michal Kokta of Baylor and 40th-ranked Raul Morant-Rivas of Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. Beale fell to Duke's Ludovic Walter in the round of 64 at the 2005 NCAA Singles Championships.
Helgeson, the Big 12 Player of the Year, earned the tournament's No. 8 seed and his second NCAA singles bid in as many seasons. He totaled a 28-11 overall singles record this season, including a 15-7 mark in dual-match play. Helgeson defeated top-15 opponents in Duke's fifth-ranked Walter, Texas A&M's 12th-ranked Jerry Makowski and Oklahoma State's 13th-ranked Daniel Byrnes. The ninth-ranked Helgeson earned All-America honors as a freshman last season after defeating Texas A&M's Ante Matijevic and Georgia's John Isner in the opening rounds of the NCAA Singles Championships. He was eliminated by Harvard's Jonathan Chu in the round of 16.
Gubser, a fifth-year senior and All-Big 12 singles selection, picks up his first NCAA singles selection. He enters NCAA play with a 29-8 overall singles record and an impressive 19-4 mark in dual-match play and a 6-0 record in conference matches. The 35th-ranked Gubser boasts victories over Virginia's 14th-ranked Devvarman, Baylor's 29th-ranked Kokta and Virginia's 54th-ranked Rylan Rizza. He ranks fifth on UT's all-time wins list.
Reyes Varela, who enrolled at UT in January and immediately joined the team, will team up with Beale in the 32-team NCAA doubles bracket. The 29th-ranked tandem meshed right away as it totaled an 11-4 overall doubles record and a 3-2 mark in Big 12 play. Beale and Reyes Varela are noted for their victory over Pepperdine's then-No. 1 tandem of Scott Doerner and Andre Begemann in the Longhorns' 5-2 victory over the Waves last month in Austin.
The 64-player NCAA singles tournament gets under way on Wednesday, May 24 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Center. The 32-team NCAA doubles tournament begins on Thursday, May 25.