Men's Tennis garners four regional awards
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas head men's tennis coach Michael Center, assistant men's tennis coach Ricardo Rubio, senior Roger Gubser (Laredo, Texas) and sophomore Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.) each garnered regional awards Thursday from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
Center, now in his sixth season at the helm of the program, was named the ITA South Central Region Coach of the Year, while Rubio, in his fourth year under Center, was named the ITA South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year. The pair led Texas to a 22-3 record and Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament titles. Notably, Texas reached No. 3 in the ITA rankings this season, marking the Horns' highest ranking since 1994. Center also was named the Big 12 Conference Co-Coach of the Year earlier this month. The awards were the third for Center (1994, 1995) and second for Rubio (2003).
Gubser, a fifth-year senior, was named the ITA South Central Region Senior Player of the Year. He tallied a 29-8 overall singles record this season and reached a career-high national rank of No. 33 in singles play. The All-Big 12 selection registered a perfect 6-0 mark in league singles play and collected his first selection last week to the NCAA Singles Championships.
Helgeson, a 2005 ITA singles All-American and the 2006 Big 12 Player of the Year, was selected as the South Central region's ITA Player to Watch. The award goes to the player who shows the most potential to make a long run in a national singles tournament, i.e., the NCAA Singles Championships or the ITA All-American Championships. Players who have yet to win a regional singles event or reach the finals of a national singles event are eligible for the award. Helgeson totaled a 28-11 overall singles record this season and tallied a 15-7 record at No. 1 singles.
All four Longhorn award winners are eligible for the national equivalents of their respective awards. The winners will be announced on Monday, May 22. Texas opens the NCAA Championships with the NCAA regional set for May 13 and 14 at UT's Penick-Allison Tennis Center. Texas faces Tennessee Tech on Saturday at noon CDT, and Rice will take on Louisiana-Lafayette in the second match at 3 p.m. CDT. The two first-round winners will meet in the NCAA regional final on Sunday, May 14 at 1 p.m.