FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas women's tennis team resumes its fall season schedule this weekend, as Sarah McLean, Yang Pang and Kimberley - Ann Surin travel to Norman, Okla., for the ITA Central Regional championship, Oct. 18-21.
"We are always excited to compete in the ITA Central Regional championship," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "All of our players are healthy and ready to make a strong showing in Norman. Hopefully we can get somebody to New York for the nationals in a few weeks' time."
With a formidable field of competition, there is plenty at stake this weekend. Singles and doubles champions receive an automatic bid to the 2013 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, which take place in Flushing, N.Y., during the month of November.
The ITA Central Regional championships field features players from 19 schools in the ITA Central region, including Arkansas, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Drake, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, Saint Louis, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Tulsa and Wichita State.
Some of the top collegiate athletes will be in attendance, with seven players from the ITA preseason singles rankings and four nationally-ranked doubles pairings set to compete at this weekend's event.
Included in that elite company is Pang, who entered the fall season ranked No. 43 by the ITA. The sophomore from Nanjing, China, holds a 4-2 overall record in singles play this fall season, including a 3-1 record against ranked opponents. Pang has earned wins over No. 46 Daneika Borthwick of Florida State, No. 47 Hermon Brhane of Oklahoma and No. 116 Augustina Eskenazi of Penn so far this season.
Pang had a breakout performance at last season's ITA Central Regional. As just a freshman, Pang strung together three straight victories to first qualify and then advance to the quarterfinals.
The run put together last season by Pang was just one example of recent Razorback success at the tournament. In 2010, Anouk Tigu won the ITA Central Regionals when Arkansas hosted the event on its home courts in Fayetteville.
Like teammate Pang has done, McLean and Surin have earned notable wins of their own this season over some of the nation's best singles competition. Surin has gone 4-1 this fall season, including a win over No. 61 Samantha Adams of Texas Tech. McLean defeated No. 66 Sarah Pham of Utah.
Pang and Surin will also pair up for the first time this season and take part in doubles competition this weekend.
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