RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (GAC) - The Great American Conference women's and men's tennis coaches have selected Arkansas Tech and Ouachita Baptist, respectively, as the preseason favorites to win the 2013 conference championships, the league office announced on Wednesday.
The Golden Suns and Tigers both claimed the inaugural GAC regular-season and tournament titles with perfect leagues against GAC foes. Arkansas Tech posted a 6-0 GAC record during the regular season while posting a 17-5 overall record. Ouachita Baptist went 16-7 last season and 3-0 within the GAC.
Both return multiple All-GAC honorees for 2013. Arkansas Tech brings back the 2012 GAC Freshman of the Year, Aida Castany, as well as Maria Aleman, who made the All-GAC First Team. Ouachita Baptist returns all three of its All-GAC performers, Helge Knuth, Marko Boskovic and Kenny Brasil.
East Central claimed a pair of first-place votes in the women's poll and took second to Arkansas Tech. The Lady Tigers advanced to the finals of the 2012 GAC Championship. They return three All-GAC performers in Marta Valles and Bernardita Muscillo (First Team) and Eli Dignard (Second Team).
Harding placed third with Southeastern Oklahoma State voted fourth. Harding returns the 2012 GAC Newcomer of the Year, Maria Moreno and All-GAC First Team performer Benyapa Phumtip.
Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State rounded out the women's poll.
The Savage Storm claimed the second spot in the men's preseason poll. The GAC's 2012 Newcomer of the Year, Luka Radulovic returns for Southeastern Oklahoma State.
East Central and Harding took third and fourth in the preseason poll. East Central returns both of its All-GAC performers - Stefan Stein and Julian Caminos - for 2013. The Bisons feature the 2012 GAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year Kittibodee Singnil. He won his first 12 matches at the No. 1 position.