Both Mesa state tennis teams ranked in top 5 in Central Region

The Mesa State College tennis programs could be on their way to making history.

The men’s and women’s teams are both ranked in the top five in the first NCAA Division II regional poll of the season, released Wednesday. The top six teams receive NCAA tournament bids, including the RMAC and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament champions.

If the Mavericks finish high in the final poll April 29, both programs will receive NCAA tournament berths for the first time in the same season. The women last qualified two years ago and the men last qualified in 2006.

The top two teams in the region will host regionals the first weekend of May.

The women (10-2, 2-0 RMAC) are ranked No. 1 in the Central Region by the NCAA Committee, which includes Mesa State coach Dan MacDonald. Nebraska-Kearney is second, followed by St. Cloud State (Minn.), Montana State-Billings, Minnesota State-Mankato and Metro State.

“It’s kind of what I expected with the women,” MacDonald said. “It’s nice to be No. 1 right now, but all it does is put a target on your back. With Kearney beating St. Cloud, that really helped the RMAC.”

The men (7-2, 0-2 RMAC) are ranked fifth in the Central Region. St. Cloud State (Minn.) is first, Metro State is second, CSU-Pueblo is third and Western New Mexico is fourth. Montana State-Billings (3-9) is ranked sixth. The Yellowjackets are 1-1 against Division II programs.

“I feel good about (the men’s ranking),” MacDonald said. “Western New Mexico is coming on strong and has played a tough Division II schedule. If we get back to .500 (in the RMAC), we’ll look like a strong team. Hopefully we can play them a lot better.”

The Mavericks play four regional dual matches this weekend on the Front Range, weather permitting. Three of those matches count in the RMAC standings.

Mesa plays Western New Mexico in a non-RMAC match at 2:30 p.m. today in Pueblo. The Mavs play RMAC matches against Montana State-Billings and CSU-Pueblo on Friday and Colorado Christian on Saturday.

“The big match for us on women’s side is Billings,” MacDonald said. “Same for the guys. The Billings men beat Mankato’s men. We need to beat Billings to stay with them.”


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