Salt Lake City, UT- Coming off of the winningest season since 1987, the 2016/2017 Utah squad is looking to improve once again and achieve their goal of reaching the NCAA tournament.
The Utes return 7 players from an injury filled 2015/2016 season in which they went 17-10 and fell just short of the NCAA tournament. This year the Utes are looking to breakthrough with the help of 4 freshmen.
“I am very excited about this year’s team,” said head coach Roeland Brateanu. “We have everything we need to be successful and reach our goals this year. We have the most talented team that we’ve had in years, the right leadership and a very challenging schedule. I think we are ready for the next step!”
Svyatoslav “Slava” Shainyan – Shainyan was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. He was a runner up at the Russian National Junior Championships in singles play and the national champion in doubles. He also won the doubles championship at the ITF G2 Ozerov Cup in his home country this past summer. Shainyan has been placed among the top four in the junior national rankings and rated as high as No. 482 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. In 2015, he was a member of Team Moscow and won the Sports Festival, clinching the championship for his team.
After his success in Russia, Shainyan trained and played in the United States at the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, California. During his time in the U.S., he ranked as high as No. 48 in the nation and defeated former Ute and current UNLV No. 1 singles player Ace Matias.
Benjamin Heck – Heck is a four-star recruit from Georgetown, Texas. Heck has rankedinthe top 10 of the state throughout every age division in juniors and ranked No. 87 in the country according to tennisrecruiting.net. He was 11-4 against other four-star recruits.
Heck was the Valedictorian speaker at his high school graduation and is looking to graduate in biomechanical engineering.
Chase Stoner – Under the expert instruction of Lindsay and Francis Rawstorne, Stoner achieved impressive rankings during his time in junior tennis. He reached a four-star recruit ranking and was No. 1 in the state of Utah and Intermountain region for singles and doubles. He also secured two state championships while playing for Brighton High School. In juniors he has ranked as high as No. 104 in the nation in singles and No. 69 in doubles. Chase joins sophomore Azat Hankuliyev as the only two Utah natives on the team.
Jacob Lapkin – Lapkin hails from Grand Junction, Colorado. Throughout junior tennis, Jake maintained a top ten ranking in the Intermountain section. According to tennis recruiting.net, Jake is ranked 8th in the Intermountain section and 4th in his home state of Colorado.
Another stellar scholar in high school, Lapkin is intending to major in math at the U.