FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas women’s tennis head coach Michael Hegarty announced the signing of Yang “Nicky” Pang to a national letter of intent today to join the women’s tennis program for the 2012-2013 season.
Pang, who hails from Nanjing, China, is the third member of the 2012-2013 recruiting class, joining Ana Lorena Belmar and Kimberley-Ann Surin. Pang has consistently been rated among the top junior players in China for her whole career with a peak national junior ranking of No. 3.
Pang’s father, Pang Chun Lei, was a six year member of the Chinese national soccer team and her mother Yang Jie has been a physical education teacher for more than 30 years in Nanjing.
“I am thrilled to join the Razorback family and have the opportunity to compete for such a great tennis program and elite university,” Pang said. “I look forward to experiencing all aspects of campus life and bringing more honors to the university. I am grateful to all the people who assisted me in this process, the university officials, Coach Hegarty and of course my parents. Without my parents help I could have never achieved the success I have had and attain this great opportunity at Arkansas.”
At age 15, Pang was ranked No. 18 in the Chinese 18 and under national junior rankings, placing her as the highest rated fifteen-year-old on the list. At 15 she was the youngest Chinese player to ever be invited to play in the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Cup. At 16, she made the semifinal round in numerous ITF professional tournaments and attained a WTA ranking of No. 907. At age 17, Pang was the 6th-ranked player in the Chinese 18 and under junior rankings and at age 18 she attained a WTA world ranking of No. 888, as well as a No. 29 ranking in the Chinese overall rankings.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Nicky to the University of Arkansas,” Hegarty said. “Nicky brings a wealth of international experience as well as an eagerness to be among the best collegiate players. She has been a joy to work with throughout the recruiting process and we can’t wait to get started with her collegiate career.”
This year’s Razorback women’s tennis is currently waiting on the release of the NCAA Tournament draw to see if it has made this year’s field as an at-large team. The bracket will be released during the NCAA selection show on May 1 at 4:30 p.m. CST. For complete coverage of the Razorback women’s tennis team or University athletics, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.