LOGAN, Utah — Utah State men’s tennis claimed the outright Mountain West regular season championship on Saturday, as UNLV defeated San Diego State to hand the Aztecs their second league loss. Utah State’s 6-1 MW record will hold up as the best conference record, as all other teams have at least two losses.
“Eight months ago this championship would’ve been hard to believe,” said USU head coach Clancy Shields. “We brought in seven new players, 70 percent of our roster was new and we lost four of our six starters from the year before. However, we all committed more, learned from the past years’ mistakes and set out on a new mission this year. This team is unlike any other I’ve coached. I could not be more proud of my players, my incredible staff and everyone involved in our program.”
Overall, it is the first Mountain West championship at Utah State for any sport, while it is also the first conference championship in program history for the Aggie men’s tennis team. The Aggies will enter the MW Tournament on Friday as the No. 1 seed.
“Championships form a bond that these kids will share together the rest of their lives,” Shields said. “They gave their heart and soul to this goal, and I’m so happy they can share in something historic for our school and our program. “
The regular season saw the Aggies set a new school record with 21 wins, topping the 18 wins set last season. Sophomore Jaime Barajas has 15 wins at the No. 1 spot this season in dual matches, the most by a player at the top spot in the lineup in a single season in school history, according to available records. Barajas also posted a perfect 5-0 mark against Mountain West opponents. Overall, six different Aggies won at least 20 singles matches this season between fall tournaments and spring dual matches, as Barajas (24), junior Jack Swindells (23), freshman Jonas Maier (22), freshman Romai Ugarte (21), freshman Luis Lopez (20) and freshman Samuel Serrano (20) all reached the benchmark.
“We are definitely not satisfied,” Shields said. “We have set our eyes on the tournament for a very long time, and we are going to attack that championship and fight our way into the NCAA tournament.”
The Aggies are back in action this week at the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas. The three day event begins on Friday, April 29, and concludes on Sunday, May 1. The Aggies await results from this week to determine their first-round opponent.
Fans can follow USU’s men’s tennis team on twitter @USUMensTennis, on Facebook at UtahStateMensTennis or on Instagram at USUTennis. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.