Missionary men in Division III national tennis championships

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INDIANAPOLIS – The 13th-ranked Whitman College men’s tennis team is among the field of 44 teams announced by the NCAA on Monday afternoon in the Division III 2014 championship tournament.

Whitman earned its way into the national tournament by capturing its seventh-straight Northwest Conference crown, picking up the league’s automatic qualifier (AQ) bid with a 5-0 win over Pacific University in the NWC tournament’s championship match.

The field of 44 is composed of 32 AQs (Pool A), five independents or teams from non-AQ conferences (Pool B), and seven at-large teams (Pool C).

The single-elimination tournament opens at regional sites for the first three rounds on Thursday through Sunday before heading to the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif., for the quarterfinals, semifinals and national final on May 19-21.

The Missionaries (19-4) will travel to St. Louis for a second-round match-up at noon on Saturday against the winner of Sewanee (14-6) and Elmhurst College (16-4), one of two first-round contests on Friday at host and top seeded Washington (Mo.) University.

Second-ranked Washington squares off at 9 a.m. on Saturday against the winner of Friday’s other opening-round match between Coe College (24-7) and Earlham College (16-6).

Saturday’s winners meet Sunday at noon in the third round with the winner advancing to Claremont.

Each team in the St. Louis regional captured its respective conference championship crown.

In addition to Whitman’s title, Washington won its second straight University Athletic Association championship; Coe won the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; Earlham took home the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference crown; Elmhurst won the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin; and Sewanee earned a Pool B bid after winning the Southern Athletic Association tournament.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges will host the final three rounds of the team tournament.

The NCAA individual championships are scheduled for May 22-24. Student-athletes selected to compete in the individual championships will be announced Wednesday.

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