Four saints compete at ITA national tournament


Four freshman from the Seward County Saints tennis team have made it to the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Tournament. Paula Lopez, Paula Coyos, Alejandro Gonazalez and Ronzi Saurombe are headed to Florida to compete for a National Championship. Both of the doubles teams had to wait to find out if they had made it to Nationals after losing in the finals at the ITA Regional Tournament in Oklahoma City. Both ended up with second place and did not earn an automatic bid for Nationals. Yet hope was not lost. Jerry Thor, head coach of the tennis team, delivered the good news to his players that they were headed to Florida. Thor said, “I was thrilled when I heard the news because these kids work very hard for these opportunities, and it’s great to see the college represented at the biggest tennis event of the year by four outstanding student-athletes.” Paula Coyos and Paula Lopez, both from Argentina, have had a great fall season. Together they have a 11-3 record and have beaten eight different #1 teams. Seven of which have been from four year universities. They previously won the Metro State Invitational, and finished runner up at the Bethany Invitational and ITA Regional Tournament. Coyos and Lopez are just the second Seward womens doubles team to qualify for the ITA Nationals. Ronzai Saurombe, from Zimbabwe, and Alejandro Gonzalez, from El Salvador, also have had an impressive performance. Their record is 11-1 for this fall season, with the loss coming in the ITA Regionals finals. They, too, have beaten seven teams from NAIA or NCAA schools. Saurombe and Gonzalez won the tournament title at the Bethany Invitational and also won the Metro State Invitational. This pair made history as the first Seward County mens players to make it to the ITA National tournament. Thor said, “The preparation for this event began the day they stepped foot on campus. With just five weeks to get freshman up to speed, we have been practicing as much as the weather allows.” The ITA National championship is being held at Fort Myers, Florida. This is composed of eight regional champions and other teams that qualified from NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges. At first, they will compete in their own divisional level. After the chamipons are crowned, the winners in the singles and doubles at each divisional level will compete to become the overall champions. These champions will then earn the chance, or wild card, into the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The final event will be held at USTA- Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “The competition is brutally tough, and they will need to play their best to win. But as their invitation has shown, they have definitely proved themselves capable of the task,” said Thor. “From the day they signed at Seward County, these four kids have had to handle the huge amount of pressure put on them. Now, they have been given a moment to achieve greatness, and I know they won’t hold back.” When Thor looks for new players to recruit for the tennis team, he looks for players who are serious about training to win and doing all the things that go with it. Thor concluded by saying about his players, “These players are outstanding representatives of the college and community. They have ambitious goals and stay focused on working very hard to achieve them. Best of all is the heart they show on and off the court. They play with courage that both onlookers and opponents admire. And they truly care about the team, their teammates, and the institution they represent.” Competition for Lopez and Coyos will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday against Owen and Chowdhary from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Saurombe and Gonzalez begin their competition at Nationals against Cutura and Martell from Tyler Junior College, who are ranked first seed in the tournament, Thursday at 12:30 p.m.