Men’s tennis players Zach Fuchs and Wally Thayne ranked 35th in the nation

Last month, men’s doubles tennis team Wally Thayne and Zach Fuchs were ranked No. 35 in Division I by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. This ranking marks their first appearance in the national rankings, as well as BYU’s first doubles fall ranking since 2019.

One of their first fall contests was at the ITA Mountain Region Championship from Sep. 28 to Oct. 2, where the duo claimed the regional doubles title after defeating a doubles team from the University of Utah.

Their regionals win took them to the ITA All-American Championships and the ITA National Fall Championships, where they lost in several tightly-contested matches. However, Thayne and Fuchs see both their successes and shortcomings as opportunities to grow and experiences to be proud of.

“When we won regionals, that was a big confidence booster for us because we knew we could beat any of these teams, but we had never done it for four, five, six matches in a row,” Thayne said. “The match that we lost in the fall nationals, that team is ranked number one in the country, and we had some set points in some first set and played close in the second. That was also a big confidence booster, knowing that we could compete with and even beat any of these teams.”

Fuchs was especially happy with their close wins and losses because it means he and Thayne could be strong contenders in the upcoming season.

“It was great to get experience to play those guys, and a good confidence boost,” Fuchs said. “We have the weapons to compete with them and hang with them even if we didn’t think we did before. It’s good to see that we’re on the same level as them.”

Thayne and Fuchs played ten matches together in the 2023 season ending in late April. Their record was 3-7, and they played one nationally-ranked team. Their fall season stats have improved dramatically, with an 8-3 record after their appearance in the Sweet 16 round of the ITA Fall National Championships.

While both athletes are excited to be ranked and to have improved upon their past season record, they have even higher hopes this winter as they officially enter the Big 12.

“35 is a good start,” Thayne said. “We want to finish this season at least top 30 so we can qualify for nationals.”

The two athletes believe they will see a lot of forward progress this season as their on-court chemistry has improved dramatically over the past several months.

“Wally and I have had a lot of trial and error with doubles,” Fuchs said. “This is the first time we’ve consistently won and clicked really well, so it’s been great to start the season off that way and continue building on it for the actual season.”

The Cougars’ first home match will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 5 p.m. Come support Thayne, Fuchs and the rest of the team as they take on the University of Nebraska Omaha at the indoor tennis courts.

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