Midwestern State juniors Kyle Davidson and Kayla Casey play for national singles titles starting Thursday at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships at the Palmetto Tennis Center.
The pair advanced by winning the Division II South Central Regional singles championships at the MSU Tennis Center two weeks ago.
The USTA/ITA National Small College Championships feature regional winners in NCAA Divisions II and III, along with the NAIA and junior colleges.
Casey, who was four-time Texas UIL Class 2A State Singles Champion at Franklin, became the first Midwestern State woman to advance to the national championships. She took the South Central region crown by beating St. Mary's Cristina Lopez 6-3, 7-6 on Sept. 28.
Casey was the ITA South Central Region Player to Watch last season after being named All-Lone Star Conference in singles and doubles while helping the Mustangs to a 23-4 season, the team's first LSC Championship and a South Central Regional Championship on the way to their second NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Davidson, the junior from Garland, Texas/Naaman Forest who was the 2013 Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year and an All-LSC performer, is the first MSU man to play in the National Small College Championships since the doubles pair of Vjekoslav Stipanic and Bo Zaputovic in 2009.
Davidson earned his was to the championships by beating Cameron's Joao Fazendiero 6-1, 6-4 to win the South Central singles title. He helped MSU to a 19-7 record last season on its way to a second consecutive South Central Championship and NCAA Elite Eight appearance.
Both Casey and Davidson were also ITA Scholar-Athletes last year.
The Division II women will begin singles play at 7:30 a.m. Central time on Thursday, with Casey drawing No. 2 seed Dallas Zhang of BYU-Hawaii in quarterfinal play. Zhang finished last season ranked fourth in Division II by the ITA.
The Division II bracket features last year's champion, Valentine Confalonieri of Lynn (Fla.) as the top seed.
The Division II men start singles action on Thursday morning at 9:30 Central time. Davidson faces second seeded Fabian Groetsch of Barry (Fla.) in the quarterfinals. Groetsch ended last season ranked 15th in Division II by the ITA.
Armand Levandi of Lewis (Ill.) is the top seed for the men.
Semifinal play is slated for Friday morning in both the championship and consolation brackets, with the finals played on Saturday.
In addition to the national championships for NCAA II, NCAA III, NAIA and Junior College, the four division winners play a "Super Bowl" draw on Saturday and Sunday to determine a wild card berth to the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Nov. 6-9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Midwestern State moved up one spot to No. 14 in the latest United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association Top 25 released Wednesday afternoon.
The Mustangs boasted an impressive second-place showing at the Fifth Annual Roadrunner Invitational finishing five points behind winner Colorado-Colorado Springs, which moved up two spots to No. 3.
Grand Valley State (Mich.) retained its hold on No. 1, while Adams State (Colo.) stayed at No. 2. No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth leaped over No. 4 Western State Colorado, while Chico State (Calif.) moved up one spot to No. 5 to round out the first five.
Hillsdale (Mich.), Augustana (S.D.), Simon Fraser (B.C.), California-San Diego, Colorado-Colorado Springs and Wayne State (Mich.) round out the Top 10.
Midwestern is one of six teams from the South Central Region to receive mention in the poll joining No. 2 Adams State, No. 4 Western State Colorado, No. 10 UC-Colorado Springs and No. 18 Metropolitan State (Colo.) while West Texas A&M is receiving votes.