MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's tennis team is ready to get its 2013-14 season underway this weekend as four Gaels will hit the court for the first time this fall.
Joakim Norstrom and Tuomas Manner will have the furthest to travel as they head to Tulsa, Okla. to represent Saint Mary's at the ITA All-American Championships. The Gaels' seniors will take part in the pre-qualifying round on Saturday with the hopes of advancing into the qualifying round that begins Monday. Times and opponents should be available late Friday through the ITA website.
Norstrom and Manner stand to be two of Saint Mary's top returners this season, with each playing in the upper half of the singles lineup last season. They were both particularly good in the fall last year, with Manner becoming the first SMC men's tennis player to reach the semifinals of an ITA Regional and Norstrom teaming with Jesse Kiuru to become the first SMC duo to reach the ITA Regional doubles finals.
While Norstrom and Manner head to the nation's heartland, Samuel Bloore and Thomas Alexander Hunt will travel to California's Central Valley to take part in the Bulldog Invitational at Fresno State. Action begins Friday and continues throughout the weekend, with draws and start times available through Fresno State's website.
Bloore and Hunt also return as key members of the Gaels' lineup after seeing plenty of action a year ago. Bloore held down the No. 5 spot in Saint Mary's singles lineup while Hunt, playing his first season of collegiate tennis, played at No. 6.
Saint Mary's is back in action from Oct. 4-6 when they take part in the Aggie Invitational at UC Davis.