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Sept. 11, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four Nittany Lions will kick off their fall season this Friday at the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational in Midland, Texas. Penn State will send Petra Januskova (Ottawa, Canada), Carmen Sandor (Toronto, Canada), Devan McCluskey (Kent, England) and Katherine Whiteaway (Sawbridgeworth, England) to compete against some of the nation's best.
There will be eleven teams competing in the Invitational this year. The tournament format will consist of a sixty-four person singles draw and a thirty-two pair draw in the doubles competition. The tournament will run through Sunday.
This is the second time Penn State has competed in the Midland Invitational. They first participated in this event back in 2010. Last time here, Petra Januskova defeated Alexandra Kichoutkin of Tulsa to win the consolation bracket.
Devan McCluskey and Katherine Whiteaway will get their first taste of collegiate tennis this weekend. The pair of freshmen come to Penn State with high accolades as juniors. McCluskey ranked as high as No. 3 in the UK U-18 national rankings and Whiteaway ranked No. 1 in her county's U-18 rankings. Januskova and Sandor will look to lead the young guns into Texas and start the season off with a bang.
With seven of the eleven teams participating in this tournament ranked in last season's final ITA Rankings, this is sure to be a tough and exciting event. Baylor topped the list at No. 13 with Nebraska close behind at No. 16. Texas A&M finished last season ranked No. 17 and Texas Tech finished at No. 22. Other teams invited are: Rice, TCU, Stephen F. Austin, University of Texas at Arlington, Abilene Christian and Texas State.
Natalie Beazant of Rice is the tournament's highest ranked singles player coming in at No. 15 in this year's preseason poll. Petra Januskova is the 2nd seeded singles competitor in the tournament coming in behind Beazant.
Following this tournament the Nittany Lions will be back in action the following Friday at the Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia, Pa. This will be the second year in a row that Penn State competes in this tournament.