Gophers making strong showing in Tulsa

Sophomore Sebastian Gallego is making his mark at the prestigious ITA All-American Invitational in Tulsa, Okla. Over the weekend, Gallego had beat out opponents from Oral Roberts and Florida before losing to Jorge Vazquez of Memphis on Sunday afternoon. But Gallego caught a break after hearing of a drop in the tournament; this landed him a spot in the qualifier level of play. Junior Dino Bilankov also defeated two opponents over the weekend in the singles pre-qualifier level. He looked bound to join his teammate in the qualifiers before falling to Matt Brewer of Tennessee in the third round of play. Despite BilankovâÄôs hopes of competing in the main draw of the ITA, he has been realistic and reasonable about his ITA debut. âÄúItâÄôs a great accomplishment to even compete in this tournamen t,âÄù he said. Sophomore Tobias Wernet joins his Gophers teammates today in Tulsa, playing his first singles match this morning against an opponent yet to be determined. The path to the main draw of the ITA might be a little less rocky for Tobias, as he has already been placed in the qualifier level of play. Gallego and Bilankov were also placed in the qualifiers of the ITA, but this time together playing doubles. Both played doubles together last year, going 10-19 overall. They will start competition against the team of Joe Koebele and Carlo Pangilinan of Drexel on Tuesday. Doubles, coach Geoff Young stressed, is what will make the team successful this year. âÄúThey need to make a big jump in doubles,âÄù Young said. The ITA seems to be the right place for the experienced team of Gallego and Bilankov to make this jump and improve upon past struggles. This is all to be seen for Minnesota, as they still have a week in Tulsa.