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Men's Tennis Signs Star-Studded Class
Aug. 31, 2012
Georgia Gwinnett College head tennis coach Chase Hodges has signed a class of six highly-talented student-athletes for the inaugural men’s tennis squad, featuring both impact freshmen prospects and proven winners with previous collegiate experience.
The new Grizzly student-athletes are already enrolled at GGC and on campus for the fall semester.
"This class will put us in a great position to be among the elite NAIA programs in the country,” Hodges said. “It's hard to believe that we were able to attract such a high quality six-man recruiting class together in six weeks. All six of these young men will play a major part in the development of our young program.”
True freshman Connor Clements (Charleston, S.C./S.C. Virtual Charter School) was ranked among the top 15 prep players nationally in his class by TennisRecruiting.net, who listed him among the top three players in the entire Southeast region. Originally from Lawrenceville, Ga., Connor played his way to a 99-30 record in tournament play over the last year and captured six tournament titles.
Erik Eskilsson-Moberg (Stockholm, Sweden/de la Gardie HS) was the first signee in program history. He owns titles in five national events, including four in singles play. He also claimed three International Tennis Federation championships. Moberg also appeared in a qualifying match for the Australian Open junior tournament.
A pair of brothers from Argentina transfer to GGC having already established splendid collegiate careers.
Matias Hatem (Tucuman, Argentina/Georgia State University) was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year for the NCAA Division I Panthers in Atlanta last year. He earned first-team All-CAA honors in his rookie season after posting a 21-3 record, including a school-record 15-match winning streak.
His brother, Hernan Hatem (Tucuman, Argentina/Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College), also joins the GGC team, coming from two seasons with ABAC in Tifton, Ga. Hernan was an NJCCA All-American after becoming one of the top players in the nation. He reached the quarterfinals of the national singles tournament and the finals in doubles, earning status as the top player in the region.
A former teammate of Hernan’s at ABAC, Taylor Hardy (Opelika, Ala./ Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College) also comes to the Grizzly squad. Hardy was the Alabama high school state champion in singles and doubles from 2008-10, guiding his Lee-Scott Academy squad to three straight team championships. At ABAC, Hardy was ranked among the top 70 players nationally in singles and doubles, picking up back-to-back region championships from 2011-12.
A third native Argentinian rounds out the incoming group. Tomas Ojeda (Buenos Aires, Argentina/Capital Federal) comes to GGC as a true freshman after earning a number-one regional ranking in his home country. He claimed both regional and national tournaments and established himself as a top high school player.
The Grizzlies have begun practice at the newly-acquired Georgia Gwinnett College Tennis Facility just north of the GGC main campus will play their inaugural season on the courts next spring. The team is also expected to add walk-on players.
“Though we can't compete in the postseason until 2014, these guys will definitely lay the foundation for the program,” Hodges added. “I'm excited to have all of them here at GGC and they will be great representatives for not only our men's tennis program but the college as a whole."