FLORENCE, SC – Five Francis Marion University tennis players were recently named to the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) NCAA Division II All-America Team.
Sophomores Oshada Wijemanne and Dilshod Sharifi were named to the men’s All-America squad for both singles and doubles play.
Junior Tereza Sykorova was named to the women’s team for her singles play—for the second consecutive year – while sophomores Kristyna Horakova and Jitka Gavdunova earned All-America recognition for their doubles play.
Wijemanne, a native of Colombo, Sri Lanka, was 15-2 at the No. 1 singles position and ended the year ranked ninth in Division II. Sharifi, a native of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, was 17-2 in singles play, mainly at the No. 2 spot, and was ranked 18th nationally. Wijemanne was 6-1 in the tough Peach Belt Conference, and his two losses were both to opponents ranked 12th or higher.
Wijemanne and Sharifi combined efforts for a 16-3 doubles record at the No. 1 position and garnered a Top 10 national ranking at the end of the year.
Sykorova, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, was 17-6 at the women’s No. 1 singles position and ended the year ranked 13th in Division II.
Horakova, a native of Roznov Pod Radhostem, Czech Republic, and Gavdunova, a native of Vejprty, Czech Republic, combined to post a 20-2 doubles record, including a 10-0 mark in PBC play. They are ranked third nationally, with both losses coming at the hands of the two doubles teams ranked ahead of them. They did compile four wins over nationally ranked opponents, including two Top-5 wins.
The FMU women ended the year with a 20-5 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament round of Sweet 16 for the second straight year. The Patriot men were 16-6 and earned their 13th national tournament invitation in the past 15 years.
Wijemanne and Sharifi become the seventh and eighth Patriot men’s tennis players to earn All-America honors. They join Kevin Taylor (2006), Mark Bube (2000, 2001, 2002), Sollie Nortje (2000, 2001), Laszlo Leiter (1999), Sam Lundkvist (1995, 1996, 1997), and Garth Thomson (1989, 1990).
Horakova and Gavdunova become the seventh and eighth All-Americans in the history of the Patriot women’s program, joining Sykorova (2008, 2009), Siobhan Murnane (1992), Mary Hirst (1992, 1993, 1994), Lee Whitwell (1993, 1994, 1996), Orsolya Somorjai (1998, 1999), and Annamaria Atamaniuk (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001).