Preview: Texas men’s and women’s tennis and track and field

Grant Gordon, Chris Caraveo, and Matt Warden

Men's tennis

After a shutout victory over Arkansas on Wednesday, the No. 20 Longhorns are in the driver’s seat to a dominant season. 

Texas (3-0) earned its third consecutive dual-match sweep against Arkansas, winning all six singles matches in straight sets. Head coach Michael Center alluded to the preparation the team did earlier this year being the key to success. 

“We like our team. We like the way we have trained this season,” Center said. “We played a complete match today. It was great to see Sudanwa Sitaram win and Clement Homs did a great job in his first career dual match. Today they proved that we can put different people in and havethem contribute.”

The Longhorns will take on Vanderbilt on Saturday to begin the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, which will be held in Nashville, Tenn.

Women's tennis

The Longhorns continue their 10-match home stand Saturday, when they face Auburn as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

Texas is one of 15 schools that will host kick-off festivities. Since the kick-off’s inception in 2009, the Penick-Allison Tennis Center has always been a host site.

Despite the streak, this weekend will be only the second time the Longhorns have played the event at home. The other occasion was last season, when they advanced for the first time.

At each venue across the nation, four teams compete to earn a berth in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. They follow a standard dual-match elimination system with the victor moving on.

Florida State and Rice are the other two schools that will play in Austin.

The winners of Texas-Auburn and Florida State-Rice will meet Sunday to determine who will advance to the indoor championship.

Track and field

This Friday and Saturday, the Texas track and field program will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to compete in the Cherry and Silver Collegiate Invitational. Coming off defeats in last week’s dual meet against Arkansas, the men’s and women’s teams look to rebound.

Expectations are soaring in the first year of Texas’ new combined men’s and women’s track and field program led by head coach Mario Sategna.

But the Longhorns may not be ready to unleash their best group of athletes.

“We’ll send some of the team to New Mexico … but most won’t be in action for two weeks,” Sategna said.  

Sategna is utilizing a common strategy in holding some competitors out of the meet. He knows that late-season events are more important than early competitions, and he’s making sure his best athletes have fresh legs when the season really starts to matter.