BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan announced the addition of five new players who will be joining the program this fall. The defending Mountain East champion Bobcats will welcome four true freshmen and one transfer to the fold.
“This class has a little bit of everything,” said head coach Marc Walters, who saw his team advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament and finish in the national top 40 last season.
“We have been lacking in power and punch the past few years, especially on the doubles court, so we were really focusing on size and attack games to complement our grinders,” said Walters. “This group has the UTR level and physical size, along with the skill sets, to help us across the board.”
The freshmen include Sergio Garrido, Haruki Iizuka, Christos Kyrillou, and Artjoms Spakovs, while Carlos Fernandez Dodero will come join the team as a sophomore after transferring from Eastern Kentucky University.
Fernandez Dodero has risen to the top of the group after the fall season, earning a top 10 ITA ranking in the Atlantic region following singles titles at the West Liberty Invitational and I-79 Challenge. In both events, the crafty Spaniard finished with wins over ranked opponents in capturing the #1 singles flights.
“Carlos will help us immediately, and his upside is obvious since he can play both singles and doubles at a high level,” said Walters. “He’s an explosive guy with some flair, and that translates well to what we needed to replace in our lineup.”
Christos Kyrillou earned a top 6 spot on the team after the fall challengers, although he missed competition awaiting NCAA freshman clearance. A hard working, speedy grinder, he will also be in the doubles lineup for the ‘Cats when the spring rolls around. Explosive, with quick hands, he also has a maturity about him after serving in the military in his home country. Kyrillou hails from Cypress, and Walters likes what he sees from the freshman already.
“Christos is just a tough guy, and passionate about his tennis and the work that goes into it,” said Walters. “He is a perfect guy to build a team around—thoughtful, great personal control and very coachable. We are fortunate to have a guy with his character.”
Garrido hails from Cali, Columbia, is a 6’4″ righty with an all court game suited for hard surfaces. Garrido claimed two national titles in his home country, in 14s and 16s, while finishing as runner up on three occasions. A top 10 national age group ranking and coming from one of the most competitive cities in Columbia bode well for his entry into high level college tennis.
Academically Garrido is a Presidential Scholar who is majoring in Business Administration at Wesleyan, and he was the first commit of this freshman class.
“Sergio is going to give us some extra dimensions with his length and size,” noted Walters. “You can’t teach ‘tall’, and I am excited to see how he develops in a college strength program and with some solid training on-court. He had a somewhat difficult adjustment this fall, but continues to improve and has shown some bright spots for us.”