SKILLMAN, N.J. (Feb. 27, 2013) – No matter the level of competition, Oklahoma Christian is considered to have one of the nation’s elite small-college programs. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s first regular-season NCAA Division II rankings, released Wednesday, offered proof.
OC, eligible for the Division II rankings for the first time since the university began the NCAA membership process, debuted at No. 10 after starting the season 5-1 and beating three ranked foes along the way.
The Eagles won the NAIA championship last season but weren’t eligible for the Division II preseason rankings because of what the ITA called “insufficient data.” But the ITA said OC and other programs whose schools are in the Division II membership process would be eligible for the regular-season spring rankings.
OC beat then-No. 11 Abilene Christian (Texas), then-No. 29 Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) and then-No. 47 Southeastern Oklahoma State earlier this month to earn a No. 1 ranking in the ITA’s South Central Region poll, which was released last Wednesday.
In the national rankings, Armstrong Atlantic (Ga.) was No. 1, followed by West Florida, Lynn (Fla.), Barry (Fla.), Hawaii Pacific, Rollins (Fla.), Columbus State (Ga.), Lander (S.C.), Augusta State (Ga.) and OC. OC was one of two Heartland Conference teams in the rankings, along with No. 17 St. Edward’s (Texas).
The Eagles have matches scheduled later this season with Lynn, Barry, Hawaii Pacific and St. Edward’s, as well as against No. 19 Incarnate Word (Texas), No. 20 Cameron, No. 31 Midwestern State (Texas) and No. 37 Northwood (Fla.).
The Eagles will put their new ranking on the line Saturday when they play at Midwestern State.
OC’s No. 10 ranking matches the highest achieved by one of the university’s athletic programs since OC began the Division II membership process. OC’s men’s golf team reached No. 10 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division II College Coaches’ Poll after winning the National Christian College Athletic Association Championship last October.