Three Gamecocks Earn All-SEC Honors
Columbia, S.C. – Three South Carolina men’s tennis players were named to the All-SEC Teams, the league announced on Thursday. Juniors Toby Samuel and Connor Thomson both were named to the First Team while fellow junior James Story was named to the Second Team.
Samuel led the team from the top spot of the lineup in both singles and doubles this season. In singles, the Bournemouth, England, native complied a 23-5 overall record with an 18-4 mark in dual play and 8-3 mark against SEC opponents. He went 14-5 this season against ranked foes with four wins in the top-50 and two wins in the top-10.
Samuel is currently ranked No. 9 in the ITA Singles Rankings but has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this season. He earned the highest ranked win of his career in February, taking down then-No. 5 Ethan Quinn of Georgia in straight sets.
In doubles, Samuel amassed an impressive 22-4 record with a 15-4 mark in dual play and 7-3 record against SEC pairs. Samuel is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in doubles when partnered with Thomson and the duo has held that ranking for ten consecutive weeks. They are the first pair in program history to hit the top of the doubles rankings. Samuel and Thomson are 11-3 against ranked pairs with eleven wins in the top-50 including six in the top-25 and three in the top-10. The pair are the first in program history to win an ITA All-American title.
Samuel was twice named SEC player of the Week this season and he clinched the doubles point for the team eight times as well as clinching two matches in singles. He was also the only player at the ITA Indoor National Championships to go 3-0 in both doubles and singles from the No. 1 position with all six of those wins coming over ranked opponents.
Samuel is no stranger to the All-SEC Teams. He was named to the First Team in 2022 and appeared on both the Second Team and the All-Freshman Team in 2021.
Thomson also earned a place on the All-SEC First Team this season after stacking up a 31-6 singles record with an 18-4 mark in dual play including eight wins against SEC opponents. He went 11-3 against ranked foes with five top-25 wins and three wins in the top-10. Thomson is currently ranked No. 14 by the ITA but earned a new career-high ranking of No. 5 this season. He earned the highest ranked win of his career at the ITA Indoor National Championships, defeating then-No. 8 Philip Henning of Georgia in straight sets.
In doubles, Thomson went 25-6 with a 17-4 mark in dual play and 8-3 SEC record. Along with Samuel, Thomson is ranked No. 1 in the nation for ten consecutive weeks and earned the program’s first ITA All-American title.
Thomson clinched the doubles point for the team nine times this season and clinched a team-high five matches in singles. He was named SEC Player of the Week during the first week of the season and entered the Century Club, winning his 100th career singles match while on the road at Ole Miss.
Thomson is also familiar with the All-SEC Teams, having been on both the All-Newcomer Team and First Team in 2021, and the Second Team in 2022.
Story made the first appearance of his career on the All-SEC Team, earning a spot on the second team. The junior served as a team captain and led his team to a 19-6 record including eight top-25 wins with four in the top-10. In singles, Story has an overall record of 21-12 and a 14-5 mark in dual play. He went 5-2 against SEC opponents and opened the dual season with a seven-match singles win streak with all seven wins coming in straight sets.
In doubles, story has an overall record of 24-11 and a 15-9 mark in dual play. He has been ranked as high as No. 22 in the nation with partner Jake Beasley. The duo went on a 12-match doubles win streak beginning at the Miami Spring Invitational and running through the ITA Indoor National Championships.
Story was twice named SEC Player of the Week this season and clinched six doubles points for the team and four matches in singles. His most notable clinch of the season helped the team defeat then-No. 4 Ohio State, a win that propelled the group to the highest ranking in program history at No. 2.
Samuel, Thomson, Story, and the rest of the men’s tennis team await a bid in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air on Monday, May 1, and the team will be hosting a selection show watch party at the Carolina Indoor Tennis Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. Those not in attendance can watch the selection show online at NCAA.com beginning at 6:30 p.m.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).