Baylor women’s tennis is predicted to finish fourth in conference standings, according to the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Preseason Poll released Wednesday afternoon. Oklahoma State (81) was picked to defend its conference title, followed by Texas Tech (70) and Texas (63).
The Bears, which tied for second with a 6-3 record in the Big 12 regular season last year, have six letterwinners returning, including seventh-ranked singles player Blair Shankle. She compiled a 10-2 record this fall, playing her way to singles titles at the Bush’s $50,000 Waco Showdown Wildcard and the ITA Texas Regional Championship Presented by Oracle. The senior has earned All-Big 12 recognition in both singles and doubles two years in a row.
Shankle and her new doubles teammate sophomore Elizabeth Profit were rated No. 15 nationally in the preseason following a successful fall campaign in which they compiled a 7-2 record and claimed the ITA Texas Regional Championship Presented by Oracle. Shankle provides valuable postseason experience for the duo, earning an invitation to compete in the 2016 NCAA Doubles Championship with then-partner Kiah Generette and advancing to the second round.
Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano expanded his roster with three newcomers, one joining the team in the fall and two jumping in in January. After a strong 6-2 start in the fall, freshman Jessica Hinojosa was rated as the No. 117 singles player nationally. Beverley, United Kingdom, native Jazzi Plews and Kiev, Ukraine, native Angelina Shakhraichuk joined the Bears in January as freshmen and will be eligible to compete right away.
Baylor begins the regular season this weekend at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic hosted at the Sunrise Country Club from Jan. 13-16, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Senior Rhiann Newborn, sophomore Karina Traxler and Shakhraichuk will compete in the singles bracket, and Newborn and Traxler will pair up for doubles action.