SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros men’s tennis team will get its first taste of competition in the fall season Friday through Sunday at the Roadrunner Invitational.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) sanctioned tournament features some of the top teams in the country, including Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Miami, SMU, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Doubles matches begin at 8:30 am and singles matches begin at 11:30 am Friday at the UTSA Tennis Center.
In singles action, sophomore Borna Devald is in the A Draw and will face Alan Magadan (UTSA) in the quarterfinals at 11:30 am Junior Emilien Burnel will be in the D Draw playing Tomas Quesada Perez (TAMUCC) at 1:30 pm Sophomore Karlo Krolo will face Solano Caffarena (UT-Arlington) in the E Draw at 2 pm Senior Te Kani Williams and sophomore Sam Whitehead are in the G Draw. Williams will play Andrew Keene (UTSA) and Whitehead will face Noah Wheen both at 3:30 pm Freshman Agustin Salazar and senior Chris Lawrance are in the H Draw and will play Eli Susser (EMS) and Kevin Leuenberger (ORU), respectively, at 4 p.m.
In doubles, Devald/Krolo will face UTSA’s Alan Magadan/Sebastian Rodriguez in the A Draw at 8:30 am In the C Draw, Burnel/Whitehead will face UIW’s Joao Sasso/Andoni Garmendia at 9 am and Salazar will team up with Michael Channels to play UTSA’s Garrett Skelly/Andrew Keene at 8:30 am Williams/Lawrance will play SMU’s Alex Stafford/Eli Susser in the D Draw at 9 am
“I expect to see really good focus and good energy. We’ve put in a lot of really hard work and I think we’re going to see that come out,” head coach Nathan Robinson said. “This tournament is a tough one. UTSA has put together one heck of a tournament and there’s going to be some good players and a lot of competitive tennis. Our guys are really excited. It’ll be a good chance for us to get a feel of where we are and set that first bar for ourselves.”
Burnel is one of four newcomers eager to make his UTRGV debut at the Roadrunner Invitational, along with fellow transfer Krolo and first-time collegiate competitors Devald and Salazar. It’s going to be a little different playing in the Texas heat compared to what Burnel is used to, but he feels up for the challenge and is ready to give the Vaqueros a look at what he brings to the squad.
“This will be the first time I’m going to be playing in hot weather, so I’m going to have to adapt. But we’ve been training hard for a few weeks now so hopefully I’m ready for it,” Burnel said. “My serve is one of my best weapons, also my forehand and I like to dropshot, too. I’ll try to use those skills the best I can. I think all the team is ready to compete hard and give their best.”
As the fall season gets into full swing starting with the Roadrunner Invitational, the Vaqueros will focus on growth and finding their strengths and what areas they’ll need to work on over the course of the season.
“All those new guys, we’re super excited to see what they do. We want to see our returners continue to grow on what we’ve built from last year,” Robinson said. “TK is in the best shape he’s ever been in. Chris is hitting the ball well and Sam is in a really good space mentally, so I think it’s going to be really fun to see those guys compete and see where we’re at and grow from there.”
UTRGV Singles Matchups
Borna Devald (UTRGV) vs. Alan Magadan (UTSA), 11:30 a.m.
Emilien Burnel (UTRGV) vs. Tomas Quesada Perez (TAMUCC), 1:30 p.m.
Karlo Krolo (UTRGV) vs. Solano Caffarena (UTA), 2 p.m.
Te Kani Williams (UTRGV) vs. Andrew Keene (UTSA), 3:30 p.m.
Sam Whitehead (UTRGV) vs. Noah Wheen, 3:30 p.m.
Agustin Salazar (UTRGV) vs. Eli Susser (SMU), 4 p.m.
Chris Lawrance (UTRGV) vs. Kevin Leuenberger (ORU), 4 p.m.
UTRGV Double Matchups
Borna Devald/Karlo Krolo (UTRGV) vs. Alan Magadan/Sebastian Rodriguez (UTSA), 8:30 am
Emilien Burnel/Sam Whitehead (UTRGV) vs. Joao Sasso/Andoni Garmendia (UIW), 9 am
Agustin Salazar/Michael Canales vs. Garrett Skelly/Andrew Keene (UTSA), 8:30 am
Te Kani Williams/Chris Lawrance (UTRGV) vs. Alex Stafford/Eli Susser (SMU), 9 a.m.
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