Gustavus Adolphus men’s tennis players Jesse Brauer (Sr., Mankato, Minn.), Mike Burdakin (So., Bettendorf, Iowa) and Charlie Paukert (So., Grand Forks, N.D.) will participate in the 2006 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships October 12-15 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
The ITA National Small College Championships, one of collegiate athletics’ most unique events, is presented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and administered by the ITA. It dates back to 1986 and determines national champions for NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College men’s and women’s singles and doubles during the first two-and-a-half days of play. Those champions then compete to become the overall national small college champs (for all divisions) on Oct. 14-15 in the ITA “Super Bowl” of Small College Tennis.
Admission to the tournament is free. Play takes place all day from 8 a.m. to approx 6 p.m. three first three days at the FGCU Tennis Complex.
Each small college division features eight singles players and eight doubles teams who earned spots into this national event by winning their respective Wilson/ITA Regional Championships held over the past three weeks throughout the country. All told, nearly 5,000 student-athletes competed in 61 regional tournaments to earn spots in the national event.
Brauer, singles champion at the recent Wilson/ITA Midwest Region Championships, was awarded the second seed in the NCAA Division III bracket and will face Alex Scott of Middlebury (Vt.) in the first round. Burdakin and Paukert, the 2006 Wilson/ITA Midwest Region doubles champions, drew Michael Goodwin and Michael Kaufman of Emory (Ga.), the second-seeded tandem, in the first round of the NCAA Division III doubles bracket.
FGCU has partnered with the Lee County Sports Authority and Lee County Parks & Recreation, as well as the Lee County Community Tennis Association to host the only national championship event for singles and doubles at the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels. It is also the only tournament that combines all levels of Junior/Community College (NJCAA Divisions I, II and III and the California schools).
The overall ITA “Super Bowl” of Small College Tennis champions on Oct. 15 will earn wild cards into the Nov. 2-5 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, hosted by The Ohio State University in Columbus. This tournament is the second of three national championships for Division I tennis and offers the small college participants the opportunity to become champions for all divisions of collegiate tennis.
A schedule of play, draws and news is available on ITA’s Tennis webpage