Monday marked the end of the largest men’s tennis tournament of the fall season, the Saint Francis ITA All-American Championships, once again hosted by the University of Tulsa.
Or Ram-Harel, Mitchell Pritchard, Carlos Bautista, Juan Gonzalez, Matthew Kirby and Dylan McCloskey all represented the Golden Hurricane in the singles and doubles brackets.
Ram-Harel won his first match in the singles draw while Kirby and McCloskey won their first doubles match before falling in the second round to Chris Diaz (singles) from Ohio State and Eliot Orkin and Maxx Lipman (doubles) of Florida.
Bautista and Gonzalez were the last representatives for the Golden Hurricane in the main draw doubles consolation bracket before falling to Jeffrey Brown and Alex Gornet of Louisville on Saturday.
TU has hosted the All-American Championships every year since 2008, and in the spring Tulsa will be hosting the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Championships for the third time since 2004.
Hosting both of these major tournaments is a big boon for Tulsa’s tennis program because it will bring national attention to TU in addition to the top players from across the country who participate in these tournaments.
In a press conference this week, Vice President and Director of Athletics Derrick Gragg talked about this opportunity for TU. “As a university and community, we’re excited for the opportunity to host the two biggest events in collegiate tennis this year.”
Gragg also said, “the Michael D. Case Tennis Center is a cut-above when it comes to facilities for college tennis and by hosting these events hundreds of the nation’s best tennis players are exposed to the extraordinary hospitality from our campus and community.”
The significance of hosting these major tournaments extend beyond just the University though. Much like the Olympics or World Cup (though on a much smaller scale), national tournaments like these can have huge economic impacts for the cities that host them.
Ray Hoyt, the President of VisitTulsa and Tulsa Sports Commision, explained just how big of an impact this could be for the tournament on Thursday.
“Tennis tournaments bring and will continue to bring a significant economic impact to the region. We are looking forward to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and its projected total economic impact of over $5 million.”
Both Golden Hurricane sides qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season and will look to play in front of a home crowd in the spring.
The NCAA Championships consist of both a field of 16 team competition, as well as men and women’s individual singles and doubles tournaments to crown individual champions.
Tulsa’s Director of Tennis and Head Coach for the men’s team is looking forward to how these tournaments can help the school and the city.
“Obviously, these two events, the Saint Francis ITA All-American and NCAA Championships, are not only huge for our tennis program, but it speaks to the strong interest that the city of Tulsa has in the sport. These national events allow us the opportunity to showcase the top facility for collegiate tennis and our outstanding community.”