April 19, 2005
Columbia, S.C. –
USC men’s tennis junior Tom Eklund has been named to the Southeastern Conference’s 2005 First Team All-SEC, the conference announced on Tuesday. Eklund becomes just the fourth Gamecock to be named first team All-SEC, joining Vladimir Pavicevic (1998), and All-Americans Guillaume Legat (1999, 2001) and Johan Sandberg (1994). Carolina’s lone senior and team captain, Ben Atkinson, garnered his own conference honor on Tuesday, as he was named to the SEC Good Works Team for 2005.
Eklund, a native of Hollviken, Sweden, was voted on to the team on a ballot vote by all 12 of the conference’s coaches. He rose to 32nd in this week’s national singles rankings, and has posted wins over such opposition as then-No. 5 Ken Skupski of LSU, No. 13 John Isner of Georgia, and #22 Nathan Thompson of Clemson. Eklund has also been named SEC Athlete of the Week twice this year, becoming the first Gamecock to earn the accolade twice in a career, and just the ninth SEC player to pick up AOW honors twice in a career.
This is the first all-conference honor in Eklund’s career, and the first for any Gamecock since All-American Seth Rose and Angelo Niculescu were named to the second team All-SEC squad in 2003. In all, nine other Carolina players have been named to all-conference teams (combining for a total of 15 nominations) since USC joined the conference in 1992.
Ben Atkinson, a Yorkshire, England native, was named to the SEC’s Good Works Team, which the SEC sponsors in each of its 20 varsity sports. The Good Works Team looks to highlight athletes from each school who give back to the community in superior service efforts. Atkinson was honored for his work as a volunteer reader at Hand Middle School, helping with The Animal Protection League Auction, and for several other efforts in service to the Columbia area.
The 18th-ranked Gamecocks will take on the winner of Tennessee-Alabama in the 2005 SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday at 12 p.m., in Athens, Ga. USC earned a school-best fourth seed and first round bye in this week’s SEC Tournament, and enters the championships with an 18-8 overall record, 6-5 in the SEC. Live scoring will be available for all USC matches right here at www.uscsports.com. Both Eklund and Atkinson’s awards will be presented at the SEC’s Awards Banquet in Athens on Wednesday night.Ticket information is available at Georgia’s official website, www.georgiadogs.com.