Weekend previews: Men's tennis, women's tennis, track and field

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Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Men's Tennis

No. 9 men’s tennis will be in Chicago, Illinois, for the ITA Indoor National Championships beginning Friday. The undefeated Longhorns improved their season record to 7–0 last weekend with victories against No. 62 Washington and No. 75 Rice, but the quality of the team’s opponents will certainly increase this weekend. Many consider the Indoor National Championships to be the first true test for the Longhorns this season. 

The Longhorns will open the tournament against the reigning tournament champions, No. 8 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are currently 9–1 on the year, their lone loss against No. 12 Texas A&M on Jan. 31.   

One of the most intriguing story-lines of the tournament will be Friday’s match at No. 1 singles, as Texas senior No. 16 Søren Hess-Olesen faces off against Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard. Torpegaard, a wiry 6-foot-4 freshman haling from Virum, Denmark, is currently No. 30 in the nation and is coming off consecutive victories against two top-25 ranked teams. 

While the matchup between fellow countrymen Hess-Olesen and Torpegaard is guaranteed to be exciting, the Longhorns will need a strong effort from their entire roster in order to advance. If the Longhorns can continue to play as they have of late, they’ll be poised to make a deep run at the Indoor National Championships.

— Michael Shapiro

Women's Tennis

After a two-week hiatus, the No. 25 Texas women’s tennis will face their toughest opponents so far this season in this weekend’s road games.

The Longhorns (2—1) have only played teams that are ranked in the top 50, according to ITA national rankings, this season, and this weekend is no exception. The team travels to Southern California to play No. 30 Pepperdine on Saturday and then No. 12 USC on Sunday.

The match against the Pepperdine Waves (2—2) will be a true testament to how Texas performs on the road against an evenly matched team. The Waves are ranked lower than the Longhorns, but their team is led by two nationally ranked players: No. 109 sophomore Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai and No. 118 junior Michaela Capannolo. In the fall, Runglerdkriangkrai went 8–2 in doubles — best record on the team — and 8–3 in singles play.

Texas junior Breaunna Addison, who is ranked No. 55 in singles, is expected to play No. 22 USC junior Giuliana Olmos. Addison recently recieved the Professional Tennis Registry Female Player of the Year award.

Other nationally ranked athletes on Trojans include No. 65 senior Zoë Scandalis, No. 72 freshman Gabby Smith and No. 104 freshman Madison Westby.

— Reanna Zuniga

Track and Field

Another week brings another rise in the ranks for Texas track and field. Under head coach Mario Sategna, UT now joins the elite tier of schools sporting top-10 men’s and women’s teams. The men’s team, ranked 11th last week, moved up two spots to No. 9 after an impressive weekend, joining the women’s team, which jumped up a spot to No. 6. The teams will look to continue their climb up the college ladder through another split weekend, which will see the distance runners in Seattle and the sprinters in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

At the Husky Classic in Seattle, distance runners sophomore Sandie Raines and senior Craig Lutz both look to improve upon their excellent 3,000-meter times at Notre Dame last weekend in hopes of securing spots at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Assistant coach Brad Herbster praised sophomore 800-meter runner Robert Uhr last week, saying Uhr “has more in the tank” and that the Husky Classic would provide him “a good opportunity for him to race against more top 800-meter runners.”

As they head to Arkansas, junior Courtney Okolo and sophomore Senoj-Jay Givans hope to repeat the stellar performances in New Mexico that garnered them Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors. Okolo will look to improve upon her world-best 400-meter time of 51.35 seconds, while Givans hopes to achieve a new personal record again in the 60 meters.

— Bradley Maddox