DENTON, Texas (8/14/07) The North Texas tennis program added a pair of impressive players, Catalina Cruz and Rachel Wilhelm, to its mid-major top-25 recruiting class.
The Mean Green padded its No. 18 ranking on TennisRecruiting.net’s Mid-Major Top-25 Recruiting Classes with the signing of Cruz and Wilhelm. North Texas, which checked in four spots ahead of Metroplex rival Texas Christian University, secured the best ranking in program history, and is the only Sun Belt Conference school in the top-25.
"It is an honor to receive this ranking,” said North Texas assistant coach Jeff Maren. “Each of our players has caught the vision for North Texas tennis. The talent is certainly at a high level, but the passion for tennis and desire to excel is through the roof. This team will make history for NT!"
Wilhelm comes to North Texas after two seasons at the University of Arkansas. The Coppell, Texas native racked up five singles wins and six doubles victories in 2007 for the nationally-ranked Razorbacks.
As a prep standout, Wilhelm finished in the 5A State Final Four as a sophomore, junior and senior, including a runner-up singles appearance in her final year. TennisRecruiting.net had Wilhelm as the fifth-best player in the state and the 82nd ranked player in the country out of high school in 2005.
"Rachel made a name for herself in high school as one of the top players in the state all four years,” Maren said. “Rachel is a natural leader both on and off the court, and is blessed with raw athletic talent and a passion for the game. Her enthusiasm will be infectious to the team, and we are happy to have Rachel as a part of our family."
After a breakthrough year at Ouachita Baptist, Cruz arrives in Denton with an impressive resume that includes the Gulf South Conference Western Division Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards.
From 1997-2004, Cruz ranked among the top 10 players nationally in her home country of Columbia each year, earning the top spot in the country in 2002-03, and ranked in the top 400 in the world according to the Junior ITF.
"Catalina is a special person and player. In an individual sport, she is a player who loves the concept of playing for the team,” Maren said. “She is also an extremely gifted baseliner who is able to dictate play from both wings. We are blessed to have her."