INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates men's and women's tennis teams both had their seasons officially extended on Wednesday, as two doubles teams and one singles player received invitations to the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s and Women's Tennis Championships, including the women's team's first-ever NCAA bid.
"It will be great to have both the men and women down in North Carolina together!" said Bates head coach Paul Gastonguay.
The women's doubles team of senior Meg Anderson (Cohasset, Mass.) and first-year Elena Mandzhukova (Lisbon, Portugal) is one of 16 pairs who will compete in the doubles competition, to be held May 24-26 in Cary, N.C. They are Bates' first two women's tennis players ever to be selected to play in the NCAA Championships.
In the men's tournament taking place on the same dates at the same site, junior Rob Crampton (Wilton, Conn.) is one of 32 players who will compete for the singles title. He will also team up with junior doubles partner Matt Bettles (Taunton, England) as one of 16 doubles pairings. A year ago, Bettles played in the singles competition at NCAAs and won his first All-America honors, while Crampton was there, but didn't get the chance to compete, as an alternate doubles team member with Bettles.
Anderson and Mandzhukova amassed a 12-7 record in dual matches this season, all at the No. 1 doubles position. The Bates pair also won seven of its last nine contests, including wins over the No. 1 doubles pairs of No. 1 nationally ranked Williams, No. 20 Brandeis and No. 30 MIT. The pair helped lead Bates to one of its best seasons ever, which included a rise into the top 30 ranked teams in Division III (the Bobcats are currently at No. 28) and a 10-9 overall record.
Anderson and Mandzhukova's 9-7 win over Williams duo Kara Shoemaker and Taylor French in the Bobcats' season finale on April 28 may have clinched their bid to nationals. The win moved the Bates pair into fifth place in the ITA's Division III Northeast Region rankings, one slot ahead of the Ephs. Mandzhukova, Bates' No. 1 singles player all season, is ranked eighth in singles in the region.
"Meg has worked so hard for four years and I am so happy that she has this opportunity to finish out her career this way," said Gastonguay. "Elena has worked very hard to overcome nagging injuries all year, and she and Meg have really gelled into an amazing doubles team."