Aita headed to NCAA Singles Championship - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Aita headed to NCAA Singles Championship

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UNCW Press Release

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Senior men's tennis star Rafael Aita is at it again.


The most decorated player in UNCW tennis history late Thursday collected his second invitation to the NCAA Men's Singles Championships. Aita journeyed to Urbana, Ill., last May with doubles tandem Chris Cooprider and Kosta Blank to compete in the prestigious event for the first time.


"Rafa deserves to be listed among the best players in college tennis, and we're very excited about this opportunity for him," said Mait DuBois, 2014 CAA Coach-of-the-Year. "I think last year's experience will help him a lot. Being an All-American is one of the goals that Rafa has had and I think this is an excellent way for him to finish his college playing career."


Aita was one of 17 automatic qualifiers for the tournament, which will be staged at the University of Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens.


The NCAA conducts a team championship from May 15-20, featuring 64 schools, and also has a singles and doubles tournament with 64 individuals and 32 doubles teams from May 21-26.


Automatic qualification into the Division I singles championships is awarded to any conference with one or more eligible singles players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Top 125 for eligible/entered singles players. For conferences with more than one singles player within the ITA Top 125 eligible/entered singles players, the subcommittee applies the NCAA selection criteria to determine which student-athlete is the automatic qualifier from those conferences. All singles players must have a minimum of 13 completed singles matches in order to be selected as an automatic qualifier or an at-large selection.


Aita, ranked No. 50 nationally by the ITA, won two matches at No. 1 singles and once at No. 1 doubles to spark UNCW to its fourth CAA men's championship two weeks ago in Williamsburg, Va. The Seahawks have advanced to the NCAA team championships five of the last six years.


The two-time CAA Player-of-the-Year owns a 14-4 singles record this spring with 64 career singles victories, one shy of the school record. He was voted Most Outstanding Performer at the 2014 CAA Championships by the league's coaches and earlier this week was named recipient of the Thomas V. Mosley Award as UNCW's outstanding male student-athlete.


Aita and the Seahawks travel to Virginia next week for the NCAA Regionals. The Seahawks, who have won back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles, will be joined in Charlottesville by the host Cavaliers (23-2), Army (20-5) and Penn State (21-5).

UNCW, ranked 50th by the ITA, will play No. 24 Penn State on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. The fourth-ranked Cavaliers take on the Cadets at Noon. Both matches will be held at the Snyder Tennis Center.

NCAA Men's Singles Championships


 Automatic qualifiers (17):

 American Athletic -- Roberto Cid, South Florida  Atlantic Coast -- Mitchell Frank, Virginia  Atlantic Sun -- Jordi Vives, Florida Gulf Coast  Atlantic 10 -- Alexis Heugas, VCU  Big South -- Philippe Tsangaridis, Coastal Carolina  Big Ten -- Jared Hiltzik, Illinois  Big 12 Guillermo Alcorta Oklahoma  Colonial -- Rafael Aita, North Carolina-Wilmington  Conference USA -- Joran Vliegen East Carolina  Ivy League -- Winston Lin, Columbia  Missouri Valley -- Alen Salibasic, Drake  Mountain West -- Andrew Bettles, Boise State

 Pac-12 -- Clay Thompson, UCLA

 SEC -- Nik Scholtz, Ole Miss

 Southern -- Cameron Silverman, Elon

 Summit League -- Henry Craig, Denver

 West Coast -- Alex Sarkissian, Pepperdine


At-large Selections (47)

 Andrew Adams, South Carolina

 Harrison Adams Texas A&M

 Axel Alvarez Llamas, Oklahoma

 Greg Andrews, Notre Dame

 Gonzales Austin, Vanderbilt

 Romain Bogaerts, Wake Forest

 Nick Chappell, TCU

 Amerigo Contini, Virginia Tech

 Florent Diep, Florida

 Alex Domijan, Virginia

 Diego Galeano, Baylor

 Marcos Giron, UCLA

 Lloyd Glasspool, Texas

 Farris Gosea, Illinois

 Yannick Hanfmann, Southern California

 Hunter Harrington, Clemson

 Andrew Harris, Oklahoma

 Søren Hess-Olesen, Texas

 Tom Jomby, Kentucky

 Peter Kobelt, Ohio State

 Julian Lenz, Baylor

 Mikelis Libietis, Tennessee

 Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt

 Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA

 Ben McLachlan, California

 Denis Nguyen, Harvard

 Lukas Ollert, Auburn

 Nathan Pasha, Georgia

 Austin Powell, NC State

 Patrick Pradella, Baylor

 Daniil Proskura, Alabama

 Roberto Quiroz, Southern California

 Hunter Reese, Tennessee

 Fred Saba, Duke

 Ray Sarmiento, USC

 Ronnie Schneider, North Carolina

 Brayden Schnur, North Carolina

 Ryan Shane, Virginia

 Austin Smith, Georgia

 Raleigh Smith, Northwestern

 Clarke Spinosa, San Diego

 Leonard Stakhovsky, Penn State

 Jason Tahir, Duke

 Leandro Toledo, Minnesota

 Shane Vinsant, Texas A&M

 Jonny Wang, USC

 Dane Webb, Oklahoma

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