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Sept. 21, 2005

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina senior tennis player Tom Eklund has been invited to participate in the 2005 Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Championships, October 6-9 in Tulsa, Okla. Eklund will join 46 other athletes in the tournaments main draw of 64, with 17 more players entering through wild cards and qualifying. The Gamecocks’ captain is also one of nine players from the SEC to have automatically qualified for the main draw.

Eklund, a native of Hollviken, Sweden, is the first Gamecock player to enter the tournament since All-American Seth Rose in the fall of 2002. USC’s best showing in the tournament came in the 1989 edition, with Stephane Simian advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.

Eklund earned the honor by way of his performance in the 2005 season, where he not only led the team at No. 1 singles and paired with freshman Jaime Cuellar at No. 2 doubles. The senior also became the first Gamecock named SEC Player of the Week twice, garnering the honor the weeks of March 7 and April 4. At the SEC Tournament Banquet, Eklund was named first team All-SEC, the fourth Carolina player to be named to that squad. Eklund was also invited to the 2005 NCAA Singles Championships in College Station, Texas, where he put up a strong showing in a loss to eventual quarterfinalist Benjamin Kohloeffel of UCLA.

USC Head Coach Kent DeMars commented on the distinction of Eklund being selected:

“It is an honor to be selected. The All-American Tournament is a very elite field. Tom has worked hard, coming from the bottom of the lineup when he first came here, to become our team captain and number one player. It is always encouraging to see a player develop like that, he really deserves to be there.”

The Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships offer the first national singles and doubles titles of the 2005-06 collegiate tennis season, and are followed by the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November and the third event is the season-ending NCAA Championships in May (the women’s counterpart to the Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championships, the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships, is played in Pacific Palisades, Calif.).

Eklund’s progress can be followed at, for any further information fans can visit and click on the link to the men’s page of the All-American Championships. The main draw will be contested October 6-9 at the Michael D. Cast Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa.

The Gamecocks open their fall season this weekend, Sept. 23-25 at the South’s oldest active individual tournament, the Southern Intercollegiate on the campus of the University of Georgia, in Athens, Ga. Following that, Carolina will host the USC Fall Invitational, October 14-16 in Columbia. As of Sept. 21, over 120 players from 20 schools will participate, with nearly 50 more players from 10 schools expected to join the field.