STORY BY AUSTIN CANNON
Senior Alen Salibasic and junior Ben Lott, members of the Drake men’s tennis team, both entered the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships Thursday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Salibasic made it to the second round of the main draw while Lott was regulated to the consolation bracket after he was bounced in the first round.
Salibasic, ranked No. 37 in the country, won a three-set first round match over North Carolina’s Ronnie Schneider, No. 23 in the nation.
Salibasic took the first set, 6-4, but Schneider came back in the second set, winning, 6-3. In the deciding set, Salibasic left little doubt, erasing Schneider, 6-1.
Up next was New Mexico’s Samir Iftikhar on Friday. The 101st-ranked Lobo took the first set handily, 6-2. Salibasic rallied to win the second, 6-4, but Iftikhar overcame an early challenge from Salibasic and won the match, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Unlike Salibasic, Lott had to play his way into the main draw. He won three qualifying matches to earn his spot.
However, Lott was unable to get past the first round of main draw play.
On Thursday, Lott faced a tough task in the form of Illinois’ Jared Hiltzik, the No. 6 player in the country. Hiltzik managed to keep Lott at arm’s reach, winning, 6-4, 7-5.
Lott redeemed himself the next day in the consolation bracket. He faced Texas A&M’s Harrison Adams. Lott upset the No. 11-ranked Aggie in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Chris Diaz of Ohio State was Lott’s opponent on Saturday, and he was able to do what the previous two could not: send Lott home. Diaz ended the Bulldogs’ run at the tournament with a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
The pair of Bulldogs almost made it into the championship’s main doubles draw, too, coming one victory short. A&M’s A.J. Cantanzariti and Max Lunkin kept them out of the bracket with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Salibasic and Lott were two of four Bulldogs at the tournament. Seniors Ben Mullis and Matt Frost both fell in singles qualifying early last week.
The Bulldogs return to the court tomorrow, again in Oklahoma. This time, Drake will compete at the ITA Central Regional at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
The Bulldogs return to Des Moines to conclude their fall season on Halloween weekend to host the Bulldog Jamboree Oct. 31-Nov. 2.