By ROY ALLEN
Seward County assistant athletic director
Seward County tennis players Paula Lopez, Paula Coyos, Alejandro Gonzalez and Ronzai Saurombe are headed to Florida to compete for a national championship at the 2013 ITA National Tournament after receiving at-large invitations for the doubles competition.
All four are freshman, and received the news from coach Jerry Thor Tuesday night upon his returned from a recruiting trip.
Both Seward No. 1 doubles teams have had stellar fall seasons to this point, but were unable to overcome top ranked foes at the ITA Regional Tournament in Oklahoma City last weekend. Both teams finished second in the Regional Tournament.
The team of Lopez and Coyos has posted a 10-3 record so far this fall. The Argentinian duo has knocked off eight different No. 1 teams, including seven from four-year universities.
They won the Metro State Invitational, battling against foes from NCAA Division II’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and finished runners-up in both the Bethany Invitational and ITA Regional Tournament.
The pair becomes just the second Seward doubles team in school history to be invited to ITA Nationals, following in the footsteps of Alejandra Miranda Sanchez and Veronica Bansemer who finished 2nd at the tournament in 2003.
Fellow freshmen Saurombe and Gonzalez have been nearly unstoppable on the men’s side this fall. The two are 10-1, with their only loss coming to the duo expected to be ranked No. 1 in the country in the November ITA rankings.
They have bounced seven different No. 1 teams this fall, including five from NAIA or NCAA schools.
Saurombe and Gonzalez breezed to the tournament title at the Bethany Invitational, and rolled off four straight wins to capture the Metro State Invitational title the following weekend.
The pair is the first men’s team from Seward County to ever compete in the event.
The four will take off to Fort Myers, Fla. on Monday, and participate in the tournament banquet on Tuesday.
Official practice sessions begin Wednesday before hitting the court for the first round on Thursday. If the Saints can survive the first three days of the tournament, they will have a chance to compete for an ITA National Championship during the finals on Sunday.