The 2016-17 season may have just wrapped up but there's a pretty big event taking place this week that will help set the stage for the 2017-18 season. The ITA Kick-Off Weekend Draft will be held on Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. ET with the women taking center stage on Wednesday while the men make their picks on Thursday. The final ITA team rankings determine the 15 regional hosts plus they determine the order of selection for everyone else. The National Team Indoor Championship host get an automatic bid so the Washington men and Wisconsin women get the free pass.
There are only a handful of lower ranked men's teams (#26 Cornell/#44 Rice) that are skipping the event but on the women's side they'll be three top 20 teams, including No. 2 Stanford, that will take a pass. Notable women's teams skipping the KOW are #16 Texas A&M, #17 Baylor, #24 Tennessee, #29 Notre Dame, #43 Alabama, #48 Harvard, and #49 Cornell. There are some schools that are taking finals that week so that accounts for a few but for the others it comes down to either not wanting to play indoors or lining up matches that are deemed more winnable.
Bucknell Athletics Director John Hardt announced the hiring of Bruce Myers as the new men's head coach of the Bison. Myers comes to Lewisburg after spending last season as the women's head coach at Longwood before departing to become the men's head coach at Delaware. Myers went 16-21 (.432) in one and half seasons at Longwood and 3-5 (.375) in his brief stay at Delaware. Myers also coached at North Carolina A&T in 2014 and prior to that was at Randolph-Macon for two seasons. He replaces Craig Schwartz who stepped down after four seasons to relocate to Boone, North Carolina, to be with his wife (Appalachian State head field hockey coach) and son.
The US Open National Playoff singles tournament wrapped up today with both former collegians remaining in the draw falling in the finals. Jose Statham claimed the men's title with a 6-1, 6-2 over Nick Meister (UCLA '12) while Sophie Chang took the women's title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sanaz Marand (North Carolina '11).
Both Statham and Chang earned wild cards into the US Open qualifying tournament, which begins tomorrow, although it doesn't look like they'll play their first round match until Wednesday. The women's doubles tournament will be decided on Tuesday between the top two seeds as both Ashley Weinhold/Caitlin Whoriskey (Tenn '10) and Jacqueline Cako (Arizona St '13)/Daniell Lao (USC '13) pulled through today.