Tennis ‘Cats end year ranked nationally

The 2019 West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcat tennis team finished the year ranked 50th in the country. They qualified for the NCAA Championships for the seventh straight year.

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wesleyan College men's tennis team returned to the ITA Division II national poll this week, coming in at  No. 50 in the year's final ranking. It is the second consecutive year that the squad end the season in the top 50, a program first.

Individually, the doubles team of Carlos Dodero and Maycon Santos Dias also finished the spring among the national elite, rising to the No. 35 spot among all D-II pairings.

After reaching a high rating of No. 42 earlier in the season, the Bobcats dropped out of the team poll in early April.

Ranked for the first four weeks of spring, and despite an 11 match win streak, the 'Cats fell out of the poll on April 10. They are the only team of the 50 schools to re-enter the ranking in this, the final posting.

“This is a nice surprise for the guys, and great recognition for the college,” said Wesleyan head coach Marc Walters, who finishes his seventh year at the helm. “There are truly 20-25 other teams that are worthy of the ranking, and Division II continues to get deeper. There are some high-pedigree tennis programs on this list.”

Walters was quick to point out that the team success is a far-reaching effort.

“We are so grateful to the boosters and community whose support allows us to play a top schedule, and which puts us in this position,” Walters noted. “It also helps us continue to attract outstanding students to the college and the program, which is a cycle of success.”

Dodero and Santos Dias became one of the most dominant teams in the region, and had five wins over pairs that also carried national rankings including Mercyhurst, Queens, Belmont Abbey and Bluefield State.

The sophomore duo is the first in school history to achieve a year-end national ranking, having appeared in the ratings in all eight of the spring season polls.

They reached a high of No. 19 on March 20, and never dropped below 39th, finishing with a 16-6 record playing together.

“I am very happy for Carlos and Maycon to get this recognition,” said Walters. “They had a terrific year, and we were able to count on them to be competitive every time out.”

The previous high ranking for a Bobcat doubles team was in 2014, when Aitor Reparaz and Joel Izquierdo were ranked No. 8 in the November poll following their ITA regional title and appearance at the small college championships. That pair was not ranked once the spring listings came out.

The 2019 Bobcats (18-8, 9-0 MEC) reached the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season, bowing out with a close loss to top-seeded Bluefield State in the regional finals.

WVWC has been to the NCAA championships in each of Walters' seven seasons as coach, and has won eight MEC championships during that span including a sweep of the regular season and tournament titles this spring.

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