Flower travels to Indian Wells for prestigious tournament

COLUMBUS, Ohio Kirsten Flower, a junior on the Ohio State women’s tennis team, will travel to Indian Wells, Calif., Friday-Sunday for the 2009 National Collegiate Tennis Classic.

Flower has traveled to the event before, competing during her freshman season at Georgia Tech. In 2007 she won her opening singles match over Sarah Lancaster of Texas, 7-6 (6), 6-4, but fell in the second round to Sam Murray of Northwestern, 6-2, 6-3. She also saw action in doubles, posting an opening-round win before falling in the next two matches.

The Buckeyes took in one of the nation’s best recruiting classes on signing day this year, bringing in three five-star players for the 2009-10 season. All three are national Top-100 tennis players and continue an Ohio State tradition of recruiting well both at home and nationwide in recent years.

Kara Cecil, a native of Plant City, Fla., is ranked as the No. 57 player in the class of 2009 by In 2008, she reached the quarterfinals of the USTA national Open Girls 18’s National Open in Naples and Tallahassee and was ranked among the Top 10 in the state of Florida.

Fidan Manashirov comes to Ohio State after a distinguished prep career that saw her ranked as the No. 29 player in the class of 2009 by The Elk Grove, Calif., native was ranked in the Northern California Girls 14’s, Girls 16’s and Girls 18’s and defeated eight blue chip prospects over the course of her career. The Gorwin Tennis Academy product has been equally stellar in doubles play, reaching the finals of multiple International Tennis Federation events.

The final signee, Gabby Steele, hails from Cincinnati and Summit Country Day High School. A four-time OHSAA state tournament participant, Steele was the Ohio State Division II champion as a junior in 2007, defeating current Buckeye freshman Kelsey Haviland in the championship match.

Ohio State will open up the 2008-09 dual match season Jan. 24 against Missouri at noon in the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center. The Buckeyes will follow that up the next day with a double header against No. 20 Notre Dame at noon and a 6 p.m. match with Eastern Kentucky.

The team won 11 of 14 home contests in 2008, including a six-match winning streak and wins over four opponents ranked in the ITA Top 75, The Scarlet and Gray were particularly dominant in doubles, compiling an impressive 36-6 record in all paired matches played at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center.