TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics/UM Athletics) - The Ole Miss and Mississippi State tennis teams each had players earning postseason All-America honors in 2012. A school-record four All-Americans highlight another great year for the Ole Miss men’s tennis team.
Senior twins Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann, junior Jonas Lutjen and freshman Nik Scholtz earned All-America honors, bringing the total in the history of the program to 28. The Rebels led the SEC and tied NCAA runner-up Virginia for the most All-Americans in the country.
All four helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen and a final national ranking of No. 14. The Rebels have proven to be one of the most consistent teams in the nation. In addition to ending in the top 10 14 times, they have finished ranked in the top 15 a record 17 times since 1994.
Mississippi State men's tennis players Louis Cant and Artem Ilyushin have been selected to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Division I Men’s At-Large Team with their impressive seasons on the court and in the classroom.
One of just 15 male student-athletes around the country earning First Team national honors on the Capital One at-large team, Cant roared through a phenomenal senior season in 2012, finishing the year at 32-7 overall with a 23-2 dual match record, and was the first 30-match winner in singles for MSU in 10 years. Cant ended his MSU career on a strong note, reaching the NCAA Singles Championship round of 16 to become State's 20th All-American on the court in men's tennis.
Also an All-American on the court, the 13th-ranked Ilyushin was named to the Capital One national team as a Second Team honoree. A First-Team All-SEC selection and the ITA Southern Region Senior Player of the Year, Ilyushin earned a 9-16 seeding in the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Singles Championship (also reaching the round of 16), and became MSU's 19th All-American in the process. He ended 2012 at 17-9 in singles action, including a remarkable 9-2 SEC record playing at the No. 1 position.
For Ole Miss, Scholtz, the SEC Freshman and ITA Southern Region Rookie of the Year, led the Rebels in the final individual rankings, at No. 14 in singles and No. 10 in doubles. He finished as the second highest ranked freshman in the nation and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in singles, marking the fourth year in a row for a Rebel to reach the Elite Eight in singles. Scholtz became the first Rebel to earn the SEC’s top rookie honor and was the only freshman in the nation to earn All-America honors in both singles and doubles. In addition he is the second Rebel freshman in four years to earn All-America honors.
Marcel ended his career ranked No. 22 in singles and No. 11 in doubles, with his brother Chris. The duo the made the finals of the 2011 ITA National Indoor, won the 2012 SEC Indoor Championship, and capped a great career reaching the NCAA Final Four in doubles.
Lutjen ended the year ranked No. 44 in the nation in singles and No. 10 in doubles with Scholtz. He proved to be one of the most improved players in the SEC by reaching the singles semifinals at the SEC Indoor to start the spring and earning All-SEC honors for the first time in his career.
MSU men's tennis, which made the program's 21st NCAA appearance, finished with its highest national ranking since 1998, and claimed its second-straight SEC West crown, once again led all Bulldog men's sports teams in team GPA this spring.
Looking ahead to 2013, the Rebels return five of the top seven led by All-Americans Scholtz and Lutjen. Also returning is William Kallberg, who earned a final singles ranking of No. 100; Johan Backstrom, Adrian Forberg Skogeng and Joe Rogers and redshirt Zach Wilder. With the signing of Swedish standout Stefan Lindmark, regarded as one of the top players in Europe, the Rebels have their sights on a championship next year.