Tennis takes step forward

By Whitney O’Bannon, Staff Writer

Success was written all over the Utah Men’s tennis team as they played to defend their home court this weekend in the preliminary Utah Intercollegiate Tournament.

Wes Hancock, who was the No. 3 seed for the tournament, showed himself as a true competitor throughout the weekend as he proceeded to compete in both the main draw singles and doubles finals. Hancock and teammate Timmy Allin captured the main draw doubles title, defeating the Weber State duo of Henning Hipp and Sascha Kiehne 8-6. Hancock fell in three close sets in the singles final to the No. 4 seed Evan Urbina of BYU, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-4.

“It was very good to see the guys in competition this weekend,” said assistant coach Roeland Brateanu. “Unfortunately Wes came up a touch short today in singles, but he did a good job on winning the doubles title with Timmy.”

Utah competed against Boise State, Weber State and two Mountain West Conference foes, Utah State and BYU.

Four singles teams and four doubles teams showed a versatile depth for Utah as they advanced past the first day of play. The first day included two singles rounds and one doubles round.

The No. 2 seed Phillip Eliers, who is a new transfer student to Utah, played tough in the first two rounds, but unfortunately had to withdraw himself from competition due to illness the following day.

The past weekend of play was a positive experience for the Utes as they look forward and prepare for future opponents.

“The main thing we need to improve most on is the way we finish our matches,” Brateanu said. “Making sure we end strong and don’t give up big leads.”

Next up, the Utes will send both Eliers and Hancock to Tulsa, Okla., with head coach F. D. Robbins to attempt to qualify for the singles main draw at the ITA All-American Championships on Wednesday. The rest of the team prepares for the ITA Regional Championships in Las Vegas beginning Oct. 15.