By Brian Ramsey
OBU Sports Information
ARKADELPHIA — The Ouachita Baptist University men’s tennis team has earned the top spot in the initial NCAA Division II Central Region Rankings for the 2022 season.
The Tigers are 13-3 overall this season, 12-3 against D2 opponents, and 11-1 against in-region teams heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Following Ouachita in the first central region poll of the season include, in order, Southern Arkansas, Northwest Missouri, Washburn, and Southeastern Oklahoma State. The Tigers have wins over four of the five teams mentioned, with the only loss coming to Washburn.
Also released on Thursday were the latest ITA national rankings with the Tigers moving up five spots to No. 17 following a 2-0 start in conference play and a win over previously-ranked No. 8 Southern Arkansas.
NCAA REGION RANKINGS: https://bit.ly/37kH7Vg
ITA NATIONAL RANKINGS: https://bit.ly/3xxTiIX
The Tigers knocked of Southern Arkansas last Thursday at home by a score of 5-2. It was the third win of a 3-0 week, which also included a 5-2 conference road win over Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Four Tigers have also been recognized in the latest ITA doubles and singles rankings.
In singles, Francisco Oliveira moved up three spots to No. 16 and Santiago Kearney moved up four spots to No. 42. Oliveira is 16-5 this year in singles. Kearney is 13-3.
Oliveira and Kearney also made a significant jump as one of the best doubles tandems in the nation following a 6-1 win over SAU’s top doubles team, which was previously ranked No. 3. Oliveira and Kearney jumped nine spots in this week’s rankings to No. 22.
For the first time this season, Ouachita has two other players recognized the national rankings. The doubles team of Alex Blanchar and Phil Exner is ranked No. 50 this after posting an 11-1 record so far.
This is the seventh straight week for the Tigers to be ranked in the ITA national team rankings. Ouachita rose to as high as No. 8 earlier in the year.
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