Three members of the Georgia men’s tennis team — Austin Smith, Wayne Montgomery and Ben Wagland — were awarded bids to the singles and doubles portion of the NCAA Championships, its was announced on Wednesday.
Smith earned an at-large bid in singles and will be one of the top 16 seeds, while Montgomery also earned an at-large bid. Bulldog sophomore Paul Oosterbaan was chosen as one of eight alternates in this year’s singles championship. Smith and Wagland earned an at-large bid in the doubles championship.
The individual championships will be held at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., on May 25-30, following the team portion, which is set to take place on May 19-24. Matchups for the individual tournaments will be announced during the team competition. A total of 64 players will participate in singles in addition to 32 doubles teams.
Georgia players have won the NCAA singles title four times: Mikael Pernfors in 1984 and 1985, and Matias Boeker in 2001 and 2002. Pernfors beat teammate George Bezecny for the crown in 1985. The Bulldogs have won three NCAA doubles titles, including Ola Malmqvist and Allen Miller in 1983, Boeker and Travis Parrott in 2001, and John Isner and Antonio Ruiz in 2005.
Smith and Montgomery enter this year’s singles championship after both earned First-Team All-SEC honors for their efforts in guiding the Bulldogs to a perfect 12-0 SEC record and the team’s fourth-straight conference championship. Smith played No. 1 singles and doubles all season long for the Bulldogs, and established himself as one of the top players in the league throughout the 2015-16 campaign. The Cumming, Ga., native led the SEC in dual-match wins with 19 and is the active career leader in singles wins in the SEC with 127 victories.
Montgomery was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2015, and has built on that strong performance this year. He ranks third on the team in singles wins with 23, playing at the No. 2 court. Earlier this year, he earned SEC Player of the Week honors after helping Georgia take down South Carolina and then-No. 4 Ohio State.
Oosterbaan, who enters the tournament as an alternate, has been a pivotal player for Georgia season this season, winning eight of his last 10 matches. The Kalamazoo, Mich., native ranks third on the team with seven wins against ranked opponents. Among his big wins this season, he clinched the Bulldogs’ impressive victory against No. 4 Ohio State with a win over then-65th ranked Chris Diaz. He has also defeated first-team All-SEC selection Elliott Orkin twice this season, including a win in the 2016 SEC Tournament.
Wagland and Smith team up for one of the top doubles tandems in the country after compiling a 13-4 dual-match record at the No. 1 position for the Bulldogs this season.
Earlier this week, Georgia was tabbed as the No. 7 overall seed in the team portion of the NCAA Championships. The Bulldogs will host South Carolina State, Baylor and Florida State at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on May 14-15. For tickets, visit www.GeorgiaDogs.com.
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