FGCU to host ITA National Small College Tennis Championships
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The 2005 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships, one of collegiate athletics' most unique events, will be taking place Oct. 13-16 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
This is the second straight year the tournament will be played at FGCU. This event is presented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and administered by the ITA. It dates back to 1986 and determines national champions for NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College men's and women's singles and doubles during the first two-and-a-half days of play. Those champions then compete to become the overall national small college champs (for all divisions) on Oct. 15-16 in the ITA "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis.
Each small college division features eight singles players and eight doubles teams who earned spots into this national event by winning their respective Wilson/ITA Regional Championships held over the past three weeks throughout the country. All told, nearly 5,000 players competed in 58 regional tournaments to earn spots in the national event.
“We are pleased to again host the premier small college tennis tournament in the nation,” said tournament director and FGCU men’s and women’s head coach J. Webb Horton. “The players and coaches enjoy coming to Southwest Florida for this event. Through the support of community volunteers and our sponsors, especially ASG, we are excited to present this prestigious event for the second year.”
FGCU has partnered with the Lee County Sports Authority and Lee County Parks & Recreation, as well as the Lee County Community Tennis Association to host the only national championship event for singles and doubles at the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels. It is also the only tournament that combines all levels of Junior/Community College (NJCAA Divisions I, II and III and the California schools).
Players from throughout the country will be competing. Among those in Fort Myers this week are defending women's singles champion Larikah Russell of Southern Nazarene (Okla.). FGCU senior Juan Carlos Osorio will be among those competing for the Division II Men’s Singles Championship.
The overall ITA "Super Bowl" of Small College Tennis champions on Oct. 16 will earn wild cards into the Nov. 3-6 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, hosted by The Ohio State University in Columbus. This tournament is the second of three national championships for Division I tennis and offers the small college participants the opportunity to become champions for all divisions of collegiate tennis.
As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, presented by the USTA, and the ITA Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship.