Senior C.J. Antonio of the Oglethorpe men’s tennis team surged into the top 25 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) national rankings , earning the No. 23 spot in the Oracle/ITA Division III Men’s National Singles Rankings after his run to the semifinals at the USTA/ITA South Regional Championships Sept. 25-27 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This marks the highest point for a member of an Oglethorpe tennis team in the Division III national rankings in program history.
In addition, Antonio earned the fifth spot in the Atlantic South regional singles rankings heading into the spring. The top eight players in the final regional rankings at the end of the season automatically qualify for an individual spot in the NCAA Division III Tennis Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan, next May.
“I’m very proud of C.J.,” said Head Coach Peter Howell. “He worked very hard on his game and the results are showing on the court. He’s a great asset to our program, as he’s setting a benchmark for future Stormy Petrels to try and surpass.”
The men’s tennis team also earned the No. 13 ranking in the Atlantic South after their performance over the course of the fall season, marking the sixth consecutive season in which the team has been regionally ranked at some point. They’ll look to improve on last season’s No. 13 finish in the region over the course of the spring. The Petrels are the fourth-ranked team in the SAA after No. 6 Sewanee, No. 11 Millsaps and No. 12 Rhodes. Birmingham-Southern comes in at No. 14 and Berry at No. 18. Emory serves as the top-ranked team in the region.
“We continue to have a very solid program, perenially ranked in the region’s top 15,” said Howell. “It’s a testament to this group of seniors that they’ve been on a regionally-ranked squad for each of their four years at Oglethorpe. I know they’ll be looking to finish on a high note this season.”
The No. 23 ranking marks Antonio as the highest-ranked player in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), with Sewanee’s Avery Schober coming in at No. 39 as the only other SAA player to earn a spot in the national rankings. Schober was ranked 10th regionally, with Sewanee’s Eric Roddy coming in at No. 19 in the Atlantic South.
Emory’s Rafe Mosetick serves as the highest-ranked player from the Atlantic South region, coming in at No. 2 in the nation behind Middlebury’s Noah Farrell. Emory’s Jonathan Jemison, who defeated Antonio in the ITA regional semifinals, is 16th in the nation and fourth in the region. Skidmore’s Kai Yuen Leung, who defeated Antonio in the first round of last year’s NCAA Championships, stands at No. 5 in the nation after the fall season.
The spring season will get started for the Oglethorpe men’s tennis team when they go on the road to take on LaGrange Feb. 21 at noon. The Petrels’ first home match of the season is set to take place March 13 at 9 a.m. against Division I opponent The Citadel.