Nograbat, Renard, Uskokovic Recognized Regionally
Dec. 8, 2005
NORMAL, Ill. - This is not the first time the Illinois State men's tennis team has harbored a regionally ranked player. However, the regional ranking of seniors Alban Renard (20th) and Djordje Uskokovic (27th) and junior Yohann Nograbat (25th) marks the first time the team has fostered three regionally ranked players at once.
Players from head the Illinois State squad have been ranked regionally in the past, including Uskokovic and former-player-turned-assistant coach Guillermo Gomez. Head coach Greg Kennett is proud of where his team stands for the upcoming spring season.
"It's a tremendous feeling. We have a lot of respect throughout the region and the rankings show how well our fall season went," said Kennett. "I am really proud of those guys and what they have accomplished."
Nograbat finished the fall with a 7-3 singles record, while Uskokovic ended 10-4 overall. Uskokovic also claimed the Ball State Invitational B Flight singles title. The duo also combined to win the B Flight doubles title at the same tournament.
Renard also put up some impressive numbers for the 2005 fall season, posting a 7-3 singles record. He also managed to take down nationally ranked Tommy Garrison (No. 125) in the first round of the Central Regional Championships.
Kennett believes his players have the potential to become nationally ranked in singles themselves, which would also be a first in Redbird history. Kennett says Renard may have a chance to accomplish the feat during the Region V National Indoor Team Qualifier in January.
"Alban is probably one good win away from being nationally ranked," said Kennett. "He has improved the most since last year and I think he really came to a realization this season. Being his last year, he is playing his hardest and producing the best results in his career. But they are all close to being nationally ranked. We will take what we have now, appreciate it and build on it."
Obtaining these rankings is an honor for both the players and for coach Kennett. Each player's contributions have added a great deal to the Illinois State program and its future.
"We have gained respect from our opponents because they saw our performance in the fall and it's going to provide us with opportunities to play better teams in the future," added Kennett. "I think it's a good step for us and we need to continue to execute."