The University of Kentucky men's tennis team will welcome some of the best collegiate tennis players in the country this weekend when it plays host to the Southeastern Conference Coaches' Indoor Championships.
The seven-team tournament, which plays out Friday through Sunday, includes four teams ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association pre-season top 25: No. 4 Georgia, No. 7 Kentucky, No. 8 Florida and No. 24 Mississippi. Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt complete the field.
"This is one of the strongest fields in the country," UK Coach Dennis Emery said. "...the depth from top to bottom is amazing."
Kentucky is led by seniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek, the nation's No. 5 and No. 13 singles players in the latest ITA rankings.
Four other Cats are also ranked: junior Anthony Rossi (No. 36), and sophomores Panav Jha (No. 85), Tom Jomby (No. 95) and Alejandro Gomez (No. 111).
The highest-ranked player in the field is No. 3 Wil Spencer of Georgia, whose teammate Sadio Doumbia is rated No. 10.
Matches the first two days will be played at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex and the Lexington Tennis Club. Matches the final two days will be at the Boone Tennis Complex.
Admission to the event is free.
Track teams host Kentucky Invitational
The UK men's and women's track and field teams open their 2012 indoor seasons by hosting the Kentucky Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the E.J. Nutter Field House.
In addition to Kentucky, 11 schools will be competing: Arkansas (women only), Bellarmine (women only), Eastern Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Marshall (women only), Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
"The Kentucky Invitational will give us an opportunity to see what level of fitness our student-athletes have maintained, lost or even gained from over the holiday break," said Don Weber, who enters his 28th year as coach of the Wildcats. "Then, we have so many young people and this will be their first collegiate meet. I'm interested to see how they will adapt. ... "
This weekend's event is the first of three big indoor meets Kentucky will host this winter. The Rod McCravy Memorial meet is Jan. 27-28, and the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships are Feb. 24-26.
The UK women's team returns 16 athletes from its 2011 team, including Shelby Kennard and Samantha Stenzel, who rank first and second in the pole vault in program history.
Senior Keith Hayes, who earned first-team All-America status in the indoor 60-meter hurdles last season and was second-team All-American in the outdoor 110-meter hurdles, will lead the men's team, which returns 16 athletes.