MIDLAND, Texas – Fresh off the program’s 15th NCAA Tournament bid last spring, Arkansas women’s tennis will begin the fall portion of its 2017-18 schedule Friday at the Midland Invitational.
Freshman Tatum Rice, sophomores Natsuho Arakawa and Jackie Carr and junior Agne Cepelyte will represent the Razorbacks at the three-day tournament hosted by The Racquet Club of Midland from Friday through Sunday.
The Arkansas quartet will compete in the first singles flight. In doubles, Rice and Carr will team up, while Arakawa and Cepelyte will be the other Razorback duo.
“It’s exciting for us to kick off the season at a great event like Midland,” head coach Michael Hegarty said. “The competition will be strong, and we anticipate plenty of growth throughout this great fall slate.”
It will be Rice’s first collegiate action. A senior blue chip recruit from Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Rice was ranked as the state’s top prospect and the No. 28 overall player in the nation by TennisRecruiting.net a year ago. Rice is only the second blue chip recruit from the state of Arkansas by TennisRecruiting.net since its inception in 2003. Rice won the 2016 Arkansas Class 5A doubles title in October after claiming overall and 5A singles championships last year and finishing runner-up in the state overall tournament as a sophomore in 2014. She also won singles and doubles titles at the 2016 Southern Closed 18-and-under Championships in June in Mobile, Alabama, making her the first Razorback signee to accomplish that feat.
Arakawa turned in a solid freshman season in 2016, going 22-10 overall in singles with a 14-7 mark in dual matches. She was 20-7 in doubles, including a 15-6 dual-match record.
Cepelyte has turned in 11 singles victories and 15 doubles wins over her two seasons, while Carr will see her first action with the Razorbacks. Carr, from Bentonville, Arkansas, earned a five-star rating out of high school in 2014. She won numerous national titles, including the USTA National Open in both singles and doubles in 2014 and was rated the top Junior Player in Arkansas after winning the state qualifier for three consecutive years. She has been ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation by the USTA and ranked as high as No. 26 by TennisRecruiting.net.
For more information on Arkansas Women’s Tennis, follow @RazorbackWTEN.