Kansas tennis second in Big 12 Preseason Poll

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Entering his sixth season of Big 12 competition, Kansas coach Todd Chapman has the Kansas women’s tennis team predicted to finish second in the 2019 Big 12 Conference standings, as indicated by all 10 Big 12 head coaches and released by the league Tuesday morning.
Last season, the Jayhawks (17-8, 7-2 in Big 12) finished fourth in the Big 12 standings. The 2018 season was historic for the Kansas tennis team as the Jayhawks reached the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight season.
The 2018 Big 12 conference champion Texas (79) claimed the first spot for 2019, followed by Kansas (73), who was 10 points ahead of Oklahoma State (63). Rounding out the poll standings were: Texas Tech (60), Baylor (44), TCU (41), Oklahoma (36), Kansas State (28), Iowa State (17) and West Virginia (9).  
“It is always flattering when your peers see something in your team and program,” Chapman said. “From where we started six years ago, to where we are now, we have come a long way. We are at a place, as a program, that our concern is where we finish the season, not where we start in the preseason poll. We have finished second in the conference standings two of the last three years, so this group knows there is a lot of work in front of us to end the season where we want (to). I believe this is the deepest the conference has ever been, with at least eight teams that should make the NCAA Tournament. We look forward to the challenge.”

Conference coaches place votes prior to the start of dual-match play to determine their preseason favorite, but cannot vote for their own team in the poll.
The Jayhawks begin the 2019 spring season with four players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles and doubles polls. Kansas seniors Nina Khmelnitckaia and Koch ended the 2018 fall season ranked No. 5 in doubles. Fellow senior Anastasia Rychagova, teamed with freshman Sonia Smagina, are nationally ranked in doubles at No. 27.
In singles, the three Jayhawk seniors Khmelnitckaia, Rychagova and Janet Koch are all ranked by the ITA. Koch (34), Khmelnitckaia (70) and Rychagova (109) all ended the 2018 fall season ranked in singles competition.
Kansas begins the spring 2019 season this weekend at the Orlando Invitational, to be held January 11-13 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. The Jayhawks then return to Lawrence to host Northwestern at The Jayhawk Tennis Center in dual play on Sunday, January 20.

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