ABILENE, Texas – A monumental and historical feat took place for St. Mary’s on the courts last weekend.
The 2012 USTA/ITA South Central Regional Championships tournament became witness to St. Mary’s newest addition, transfer Mariana Rong (Jinan, China), cracking the national rankings.
At the tournament held in Abilene, Texas, Rong stomped each of her competitors and advanced to the finals, marking the first time in history St. Mary’s has had a Rattler competing in the final day of the regional tournament. Rong’s fierce trek through four matches before bowing only to Abilene Christian’s Laura Mongin places her as a potentially highly ranked player in the nation – and she’s done this after just her first few matches as a Rattler.
But the nationally ranked Rong’s success in the tournament wasn’t limited to the individual matches, as she teamed up with Felicity Delgado (So., Universal City, Texas) in doubles, advancing to the semifinals. Rong and Delgado shut out the first heat, 8-0, over Colorado State University-Pueblo before falling just short of the finals in a 9-7 loss to Oklahoma Christian.
Delgado took from her triumph with Rong, continuing on to win the Women’s Consolation Singles Championship. Delgado’s victory in the final was won over fellow Rattler Christina Lopez (Fr., San Antonio), who advanced to the finals in her own right after pounding victories over University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and Dallas Baptist University players.
St. Mary’s was represented once more in the finals bracket as Elisha Bryant (Sr., Plano, Texas) owned Women’s ‘B’ Draw Consolation. Bryant advanced to the finals after 8-0 and 8-2 victory matches before falling to the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith’s Thompson.
Anita Qureshi (Jr., San Antonio) saw the quarterfinals after defeating St. Edward’s Brenna Haseltine, 8-2.
With numerous Rattlers swinging away throughout the tournament, St. Mary’s had the second-most players still competing in final days.
The Rattlers’ success, including the now nationally ranked Rong, surely has St. Mary’s thinking big for the remainder of the season.