Gamecocks Ranked No. 5 in Preseason Team Rankings
Columbia, S.C. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its 2024 preseason rankings on Wednesday with South Carolina coming in at No. 5 in the nation.
The No. 5 ranking is the highest preseason ranking in program history for the Gamecocks and comes on the heels of ending the 2023 season ranked No. 8 in the nation.
The Gamecocks are no stranger to being single-digits in the ITA Team Rankings, having spent the entirety of the 2023 season ranked inside the top-10, peaking at No. 2 in the nation – the programs highest ever ranking. The team is also the highest ranked in the SEC with a total of seven SEC teams represented in the preseason top-25.
South Carolina returns six members of its squad who reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships last season. Highlighting the returners is senior Toby Samuel who will rejoin the team after competing professionally in the fall. Samuel was a singles and doubles All-American in 2023 and qualified for the both the singles and doubles NCAA Championships. Over the summer and fall Samuel has climbed up to a career high of No. 404 in the ATP singles ranking and No. 250 in the ATP doubles rankings.
Also returning for the Gamecocks is Connor Thomson who also played professionally throughout the summer and fall. Thomson is a singles All-American and two-time doubles All-American and reached an ATP doubles career high of No. 285. Together, Samuel and Thomson were ranked No. 1 in the ITA doubles ranking for all but one week of the 2023 season and the duo played in Wimbledon together, advancing to the second round.
James Story will also be returning for the team. Story has been a consistent force in the doubles lineups for South Carolina during his previous two seasons, compiling 49 doubles wins. He went 22-13 in singles during the 2023 season and ended the year ranked No. 122 in the ITA singles rankings. Story was twice named SEC Player of the Week in 2023 and was a second-team All-SEC selection.
Also returning as part of the 2023 NCAA quarterfinalist team are senior Carter Morgan, junior Casey Hoole, and sophomore Lucas Andrade da Silva. Having joined the team for fall 2023 are freshmen Jelani Sarr and Sean Daryabeigi. During the fall semester, the squad of five tallied 45 singles wins – five of them ranked – and ten doubles wins.
Head coach Josh Goffi’s group will begin spring action this weekend, hosting the Gamecock Kickoff at the Carolina Indoor Tennis Center from Jan. 5-7. The round robin tournament will begin each day at 9:00 a.m. with admission free and open to the public. Dual play will begin at home for South Carolina on Jan. 27th when the Gamecocks will host rival Clemson during the first round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
For all the latest South Carolina men’s tennis information, continue to follow GamecocksOnline.com or the team on social media (@GamecockMTennis).