INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Men’s tennis headed to NCAA Championship
Binghamton earned an automatic berth by capturing the America East Championship. Minnesota (20-5) received an at-large bid after losing to nationally top-ranked Illinois in the Big Ten championship match. It is the 10th consecutive NCAA bid for the Golden Gophers.
Twenty-fifth-ranked Oklahoma State will meet 48th-ranked North Carolina in the regional’s other match. A total of 64 teams from across the country were selected and placed into 16 regional fields of four teams each.
Coached by 16-year head coach Michael Starke, the Bearcats rattled off seven straight wins and, as the top seed, captured the program’s first America East title by downing rivals Hartford and Stony Brook. Sophomore Akshay Rao (New Delhi, India) raised his overall record to 32-4 by breezing through the conference tournament. He was selected as the America East Player of the Year and Starke was the conference Coach of the Year. “We don’t know anything about Minnesota, but you can be sure we will know a lot in the next few days,” Starke said. “We hope to represent the University and the conference with dignity and integrity.”
Including the program’s Division III and II years, this is Binghamton’s fifth trip to the NCAA tournament. Starke’s Division III squads were selected in 1995-97, and his 1999 Division II team advanced as well. Overall, BU is 4-7 in championship play. This is the first Division I national tournament berth awarded to any BU team in just the school’s second year of high-level competition.