Senior Jaime Barajas, sophomore Sergiu Bucur and freshman Jose Carvajal earned all-Mountain West honors, as selected by the conference's head coaches, it was announced on Wednesday by the conference. Barajas and Bucur each earned all-MW in singles, while Barajas and Carvajal were named all-MW in doubles.
Overall, it is the first all-conference honors for Bucur and Carvajal but the third and fourth for Barajas.
Barajas recorded 12 singles wins in the dual match season at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, including a perfect 6-0 record against Mountain West opponents at the No. 1 spot. Barajas defeated three nationally-ranked opponents in BYU’s then-ranked No. 116 Sean Hill, then No. 26 Old Dominion’s then-ranked No. 83 Aziz Kijametovic and UNLV’s then-ranked No. 85 Alexandr Cosbinov. Barajas won three Utah State athlete of the week awards this season and was named the Mountain West men's tennis player of the week once.
Bucur also recorded 12 singles wins in the dual match season at the Nos. 1 through 3 spots, including a 5-1 mark in conference play at the No. 2 spot. Bucur went 11-2 at the No. 2 spot where he played about 74 percent of his matches. Bucur clinched two conference victories for the Aggies at the No. 2 spot, in their 4-0 win over Boise State (6-2, 6-4) and a 4-2 win over Air Force (6-4, 6-4).
Barajas and Carvajal posted a 9-7 dual match record at the No. 1 spot, going 3-4 against Mountain West foes. The tandem clinched three doubles points for the Aggies against Montana State (7-6 ), George Washington (6-3) and UNLV (6-3), as well as recorded USU's only doubles win against Utah (7-5). When playing together, the duo played exclusively at the No. 1 spot. Carvajal is the second freshman to earn an all-conference award in program history since Hannes Schenk was named all-Big West second-team singles in 2003.
Utah State (16-8, 7-0 MW) enters the Mountain West Men's Tennis Championships as the top seed after earning the MW regular season title for the third-consecutive year and posting its first perfect conference record, 7-0, in program history. The Aggies will take on eighth-seeded Boise State (9-18, 1-6 MW) on Thursday, April 26, at 10 a.m. MT, in San Diego, California.
"The first round against Boise State will be challenging for a number of reasons," head coach James Wilson said. "We played them early in the season, and I definitely believe they have improved since then. This is also going to be a neutral location, so it will be very important for us to get off to a good start and play with a sense of urgency right away."
USU and Boise State met in February where USU won, 4-0. The Broncos are led in singles by junior Wyatt DeMulling who is 10-2 at the Nos. 2 through 5 spots. In doubles, juniors Kyle Butters and Jack Heslin lead the way with a 9-11 mark at the No. 1 spot.
A Utah State victory would result in a semifinal contest against the winner of the 4/5 match between UNLV (13-9, 3-4 MW) and Nevada (15-7, 3-4 MW). The semifinal will take place on Friday, April 27, at noon. USU was victorious in the meetings between the two programs this season after a 4-1 win over UNLV and a 4-3 win over Nevada.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.