FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona men's tennis team will send four players to the five-day USTA/ITA Mountain Regional Championships that begins on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The Lumberjacks will be represented by seniors Patrick Schimmelbauer and Shaun Waters, junior Dominic Bermudez and sophomore Kester Black as they'll take on the top players in the region. The tournament will be held at the Darling Tennis Center.
"Anything can happen at this tournament," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "If you're given a good draw to start with, I think we can do a lot of damage. We just have to go in, play well and play our game and go from there."
For Bermudez, Schimmelbauer and Waters, they'll be making a return trip to the regional championships after competing there last year. Although Bermudez and Waters were winless in each of their two matches, Schimmelbauer recorded a team-best 3-2 mark, advancing to the fourth round of the singles back draw after dropping his first round match in the main draw. In doubles play, the Lumberjacks were solid a year ago, with Bermudez and Schimmelbauer compiling a 2-2 mark and advancing to the second round of the main draw, while Waters and graduated senior Robin Pezzutto notched a 3-1 record, playing their way into the third round of the back draw.
Black, a transfer from Wichita State, will be making his first trip to the Mountain Regional Championships, but is a perfect 3-0 after making his NAU debut at the Aggie Invitational last month. Bermudez, Schimmelbauer and Waters all made their fall debuts at New Mexico's Balloon Fiesta Invitational two weeks ago and each picked up a singles victory.
Doubles play will kick off Wednesday's first day of action at 8 a.m. Black and Waters will take on BYU's Scott Bohne and Nikki Rae, while Bermudez and Schimmelbauer will face Weber State's Todd Fought and Sanjay Goswami.
After the first round of the doubles main draw, each of the four Lumberjacks will play his first round singles match. Black and Waters will be the first two to take the court as they'll each face an opponent from Nevada – Black versus Moez Echargui at 9 a.m. and Waters versus Andrew Poustie at 10:30 a.m. Bermudez is set to square off against Ben Tasevac of Utah at 11:30 a.m. and Schimmelbauer will battle Prithiv Sivasubramaniam at 12 p.m.
"Kester has proven day in and day out that he's deserving to go to this tournament," Bruno said. "As for the other guys, they're solid players for us with the standout from last year being Dominic. Pat is ready and he's mentally focused and the same with Shaun; it's both of their senior years. But I think for all of these guys, I think they're ready to compete at this tournament."