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Four Aggies to Compete at NCAAs; Sanchez Garners All-America Honors

May 01, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M senior Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar became the school’s first two-time All-American in women’s tennis after receiving a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship 64-player field, announced today by the NCAA.

Teammate Nazari Urbina also was selected to compete in the singles tournament as an at-large entry. The senior from Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, is making a school-record fourth consecutive appearance.

In addition, the Romanian duo of junior Cristina Stancu and freshman Stefania Hristov will compete in the 32-team NCAA Doubles Championship as an at-large selection.

An All-SEC first-team selection, Sanchez Quintanar is 35-7overall – including 22-5 against ranked opponents – and ranks fourth in the A&M records for most singles victories in a season. Currently ranked No. 4 in the ITA national singles rankings, Sanchez-Quintanar has been ranked as high as No. 3, the highest ranking in school history.

"Cristina’s high seed reflects the considerable ability and talent that has made her a perennial top five collegiate player in the past two years," A&M second-year head coach Howard Joffe said.

Sanchez-Quintanar is making her third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Singles Championship. Last year, she received a No. 7 seed to become A&M’s fifth All-American and the first in school history to garner the distinction by virtue of being a top 16 seed. The Campo de Criptana, Spain, native advanced to the quarterfinals, tying former Aggie All-American Kim Laubushagne (1987) for the best finish in A&M history.

Sanchez-Quintanar made her first tournament appearance in 2011, her only season at Maryland. The then-sophomore became the Terrapins’ first-ever player to reach the singles round of 32 after defeating Urbina in the first round.

Urbina, whose 97 career singles victories ranks fourth in the A&M all-time records, is 17-7 overall this season and currently No. 55 in the ITA singles rankings. She went 9-1 in SEC matches, including a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-1 victory over Florida’s 53rd-ranked Alexandra Cercone in the last match standing to clinch the Aggies’ 4-3 victory over the two-time defending national champion Gators and help propel A&M to an SEC regular season championship.

In 2010, Urbina became A&M’s first-ever freshman to compete in the elite event, and last year she became the first Aggie to compete in three NCAA singles tournaments.

"Nazari's inclusion in the field for the singles represents the first time the Aggies have had a player make this prestigious event all four years,” Joffe said. “This achievement by Nazari is emblematic of her character and nature, which is to be dependable and consistent. I'm delighted for her, and she is absolutely deserving."

Stancu, in her first year at A&M after transferring from Maryland, and Hristov are 19-9 overall and ranked No. 19 in the nation in doubles. They set the school record for the highest doubles ranking in program history earlier this season when they were tabbed No. 6 in the nation. In the fall, the duo won the ITA Texas Regional, including a 9-7 victory over then sixth-ranked Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo of Texas Tech to earn an automatic berth to the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships in New York.

"Stancu and Hristov are such great competitors and really incorporate the Aggie spirit and drive,” Joffe said. “They are a dangerous team, and I look forward to seeing them get an opportunity to play in the NCAA doubles."

The singles and doubles competitions will be conducted May 22-27 at the University of Illinois’ Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill., following the conclusion of the team championship (May 17-21). All matches will be the best of three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six games all will be used for all matches.

Texas A&M (21-3) received a school-record No. 3 seed in the 64-team NCAA Tennis Championship and will host first and second rounds May 11-12 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Aggies, who are making their 14th consecutive and 19th overall appearance in the team tournament, open against Southern (10-9) on Saturday, May 11 at noon.

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