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May 2, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina sophomores Chip Cox and Nick Jones earned one of the 18 at-large spots in the NCAA Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship, the organization announced today. Ranked No. 24 in the nation, the Gamecock duo is making its first appearance at the event, which runs May 23-28 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. Teams that advance to the quarterfinals of the event earn All-America honors.

“I’m really happy for Nick and Chip, who are in this tournament because of the work they have put in to make themselves and our team better,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “It’s a big deal to make an individual NCAA tournament with an opportunity to become an All-American. Very few student-athletes get the opportunity to achieve that status, and I’m excited that these two have it.”

After teaming up just twice in the fall, Cox and Jones assumed the top spot in the Gamecocks’ doubles lineup midway through the season. In their first dual-match outing, they upended Kentucky’s top duo, which was ranked No. 27 in the nation at the time and earned the SEC’s automatic berth in the championship. Following a second-straight win, Cox and Jones had their first national ranking, debuting at No. 64 on March 13. A month later they had cut that ranking in half before heading into the SEC Tournament the following week at No. 24.

The sophomore pair went 7-6 this spring, including a 6-3 mark in SEC action. Cox and Jones are 5-2 against nationally ranked opponents, including a win over the nation’s ninth-ranked tandem from Florida in the regular-season finale. Four of their SEC wins came on the road, and two came in a tiebreak.

Nine doubles teams from SEC schools are among the 32-team field, including two that are ranked among the event’s top eight seeds. Cox and Jones have defeated both the seeded SEC teams this spring.