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Men's, women's tennis teams start at No. 1

The men's tennis team opens up the 2011 season today at William and Mary fresh off being chosen first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted by the league's men's tennis coaches.

The Eagles totaled three first-place bids and 42 points to edge second-place Radford by one point. Radford received two first-place votes and 41 points. The rest of the poll: 3. Coastal Carolina (35); 4. Liberty (34); 5. Gardner-Webb (20); 6. UNC Asheville (15); 7. Presbyterian (9).

The women's tennis team was also picked first in the conference's preseason poll. The Eagles totaled five first-place votes and 61 points.

Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina tied for second with one first-place bid each and 52 points. The rest of the poll: 4. Liberty (40); 5. Radford (29); 6. Gardner-Webb (24); 7. UNC Asheville (22); 8. Presbyterian (8).

The 2011 Big South women's tennis season begins Saturday with Hampton and Wofford at Winthrop. Liberty plays at the William and Mary Tournament.

The Big South Conference Men's and Women's Tennis Championship is slated for April 21-23 on Memorial Courts at Winthrop.

GREAT GPA -- Winthrop's student-athletes achieved the second highest cumulative semester grade point average (GPA) on record during the 2010 fall semester.

Winthrop's 17 teams had a cumulative GPA of 3.06 which matches the mark set during the 2006 fall semester and ranks second behind the record high of 3.10. In addition to the cumulative GPA, a total of 27 athletes compiled perfect 4.0 averages during the fall.

"I am so proud of our student-athletes performances in the classroom this past fall," Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman said. "They deserve much credit for their achievements. These GPA results are also a testament to the hard work of our coaching staff and our academic support staff under the direction of (director of academic services) Melissa Pluchos. Results like this only comes with the team effort of all involved."

Women's tennis achieved the highest team GPA in the department with a 3.70 cumulative mark. Two other Eagle teams -- women's golf and baseball -- achieved all-time highs. The golfers compiled a 3.52 average while baseball achieved a 3.17 mark. The men's tennis team recorded a 3.47.

OFF AND RUNNING, JUMPING AND THROWING -- Winthrop's indoor track and field season resumes on Saturday at the Appalachian State Invitational.

SHE'S A WINNER - AGAIN -- Dequesha McClanahan was named Big South Conference Freshman of the Week on Wednesday.

McClanahan, a 5-8 guard out of Oak Ridge, Tenn., averaged 13.5 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in the two games last week. She started the week with 19 points in the win over Charleston Southern and had eight points and five assists in the loss to Gardner-Webb on Tuesday. McClanahan shot 36 percent from the floor and 88 percent (7-for-8) from the foul line.

McClanahan leads the team with 12.5 points per game, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals. It is the fourth time this season she has been named the Freshman of the Week in the Big South.

BASEBALL AND SNOW -- Several Eagles baseball players took to the parking lots outside the Winthrop Coliseum late Wednesday morning to play some catch. With classes canceled again and a snow covered field, the parking lots were as good a place as any to loosen up.

The baseball team, under the direction of first-year coach Tom Riginos, has selected three players -- RHP Robert Lake and C/DH Eddie Rohan and OF Sean Sullivan -- to serve as captains for the 2011 campaign which begins Feb. 18 in San Diego.