KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 22, 2012) - Fresh off winning the program's second national title, Oklahoma Christian ascended to No. 1 for the first time in school history in the final NAIA men's tennis coaches' poll of the season, released Tuesday.
OC (20-3) received all 12 first-place votes in the poll after beating previous No. 1 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) 5-4 in the title match in the NAIA Championship last Saturday in Mobile, Ala.
The Eagles, guided by Wilson-Intercollegiate Tennis Association NAIA Coach of the Year Kris Miller, had entered the national tournament ranked third, but rallied to beat No. 2 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 5-4 in the semifinals before doing the same against Fresno Pacific.
OC's previous highest ranking in the men's tennis poll was No. 2. The Eagles were ranked second in the final poll before the 2003 national tournament and in the 2004 preseason poll. There was no postseason poll in 2003, when the Eagles won their first NAIA title.
Men's tennis is the fourth sport in which an Oklahoma Christian team has achieved a No. 1 NAIA ranking. The Eagles' men's basketball team twice has been ranked No. 1 for one week, during January 1978 and January 1999. The men's golf team - the reigning NAIA champion - achieved its first No. 1 ranking in April 2003 and has been atop the poll numerous times ever since, including most of the current season.
The OC men's cross country team ascended to No. 1 last Oct. 5, held the ranking through the end of the season and eventually won the NAIA championship.
In the tennis rankings, Fresno Pacific, which had been at No. 1 since the end of the 2009 regular season (a span encompassing 23 straight polls) dropped to No. 2. Embry-Riddle fell one spot to No. 3, followed by the other semifinal loser, Azusa Pacific (Calif.), at No. 4.
Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) was fifth, followed by Vanguard (Calif.), Xavier (La.), Westmont (Calif.), William Carey (Miss.) and Lindsey Wilson (Ky.).