The miraculous run of team national championships has come to a close for USC Men’s Tennis, but the exciting action will continue as the Trojans take the courts today in the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships.
The memories of Steve Johnson(right) and his back-to-back singles are now cemented in history, with a new group of players looking to bring the title back to USC once again. Four Trojans will fight for an NCAA Singles crown this month in Illinois, with two earning top seeds.
Earning the No. 7 overall seed into the 2013 NCAA Men’s Singles draw is junior Emilio Gomez, joined by fellow junior Ray Sarmiento as a 9-16 seed. The final two Trojans making the quest are sophomores Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz, who each earned at-large berths with contests against the tournament’s top-two seeds quickly looming.
The Trojans are led by returner Sarmiento, who will be making his third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Singles scene. He earned All-American honors as a freshman with a run to the Round of 16, and repeated that honor last season as member of the National Championship squad. Last season he reached the Round of 32, and is looking to build upon that performance following a difficult loss 7-6, 7-6 sending the Trojans home from NCAA Team play.
Emilio Gomez enters the tournament as the Trojans top-ranked player and is already well familiar with his first-round matchup, Jarryd Botha from Alabama. Former-USC assistant coach George Hussack’s Bama squad fell to San Diego in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which was played at Mark’s Tennis Stadium on the Southern California campus. Gomez enters the tournament with a 25-6 overall singles record and is currently ranked 16th in the nation in the latest ITA rankings.
Gomez will enter the Single’s Tournament for the second straight year, having reached the Round of 16 last year. His high seed into the 2013 tourney secures Gomez as an ITA All-American for the first time in his Trojan career, as the automatic qualifier from the Pac-12 conference. The Trojans sixth-ranked player has experienced the rigors this season, notching a 14-2 record against opponents top-ranked singles players this season.
Sophomore’s Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Qurioz have the daunting task of surpassing a rigorous half of the bracket, with top seeds Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee and Alex Domijan of Virginia looming.
That being said, the young Trojans are excited for the opportunity and come in with accolades across the board. Hanfmann holds a 27-6 overall singles mark while also accumulating four match-clinching victoires, entering play as No. 45 in the latest ITA singles ratings.
Quiroz is now ranked No. 36 in the nation in singles and boast the most singles wins of all his Trojan teammates to date with a 34-9 overall record. Roberto did not qualify for last year’s singles championship, but did play with Steve Johnson in the doubles bracket. The entire squad took the court today, looking to advance to the Round of 32 which starts tomorrow culminating with the finals on May 27th.
The Trojans took the court today as part of the 64 player bracket, here is a link to the full bracket with times and scores. For all the scoring updates on your Trojans, check out the action from the Illinois Tennis online stream, We at Reign of Troy will also have a complete recap of all the exciting action following today’s play.
Trojans Singles Championship Draw: First Round (May 22nd)
6 a.m. PT –  Emilio Gomez (USC) vs. Jarryd Botha (Alabama)
11 a.m. PT – [9-16] Ray Sarmiento (USC) vs. Max Wennakoski (VCU)
11 a.m. PT - Yannick Hanfmann (USC) vs. Andrew Bettles (Boise State)
12 p.m. PT - Roberto Quiroz (USC) vs. Dane Webb (Oklahoma)