Cyclones earn No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament


Daniel Jacobi II

The Iowa State tennis team huddles up before their matches against Drake University at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center on Jan. 14, 2023.

Iowa State tennis is headed back to the NCAA Tournament, this time as a seeded team.

The No. 12 ranked Cyclones heard their name called in the selection show Monday as part of the 64-team field. The team made history by being named the No. 11 seed, meaning that it will host the first and second rounds for the first time ever. It marks the third year in the row that Iowa State has qualified for the postseason and the first time that it enters as one of the top 16 seeds.

The Cyclones finished this year with an 18-5 record and are coming off of a spring campaign that saw them reach the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, where they lost to No. 13 Oklahoma, 4-3. Iowa State is riding a season that has seen them also go 11-4 against nationally-ranked opponents and record several statement wins.

In the month of February, the Cyclones reached the semifinals of the ITA Indoor National Championship and recorded a historic upset by taking down conference opponent Texas, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time. That win concluded a run that saw Iowa State record four consecutive upsets over higher-ranked teams, including wins over No. 18 UCLA, No. 10 Miami and No. 9 Vanderbilt.

In the season-ending Big 12 awards, Iowa State players took four spots on the All-Conference Teams. Sophomore Ange Oby Kajuru and Miska Kadleckova earned first and second team singles honors, respectively, as they both ended the season with at least 20 wins in singles. Kajuru and freshman Xinyi Nong took home first team doubles honors with a 2-0 showing in the tournament, and Kadleckova and Sofia Cabezas were named to the second team.

Head coach Boomer Saia also won another piece of hardware, taking home his second Big 12 Coach of the Year award. The fifth-year head coach first won the award in 2021 after leading the Cyclones to their first NCAA Tournament.

Iowa State will play host to the first and second rounds of the tournament, as they will host Wisconsin, Louisiana State (LSU) and opening-round opponent, Drake. The Cyclones and Bulldogs met in Iowa State’s first dual match of the year back in January, and the Cyclones swept aside Drake on a 7-0 scoreline.

The first match will see LSU take on Wisconsin at 11 a.m. Friday followed by the Cyclones-Bulldogs matchup at 2 p.m. Both games will be played at Ames High School.

In the case of poor weather conditions, matches will be moved to Life Time Fitness Center in Urbandale, with first-round matches being played at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.