BOISE, Idaho - (6/27/2007) - The honors keep rolling in for Boise State tennis player Luke Shields as he was named to represent the United States at the Pan American Games this July. He becomes the first Bronco to represent the United States in the sport of tennis. The senior to be has had an outstanding career through three seasons at Boise State. Tuesday’s announcement capped an already memorable junior year for the Grand Junction, Colorado native.
This past season Shields honors have been numerous including: 35-7 overall record in singles, ITA All-American, recipient of the USTA/ITA National Sportsmanship Award, Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, named All-WAC first team in both singles and doubles, finished ranked 13th nationally in singles and first in the Mountain Region, named to the 2007 USTA/ITA Summer Collegiate Team, and now to the United States’ Pan American squad. In addition, Shield’s All-American status this past spring made him the first Bronco tennis athlete to earned three All-American honors in his career and the first to reach All-American status twice in singles.
Shields leaves this week for competition with the USTA/ITA Summer Collegiate team. He will join the American team for the Pan American Games in mid-July. The Games begin on July 13th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and last through July 29th. The Pan American Games is the world’s second largest multi-sport event following the Olympic Games. The tennis competition will be held on the clay courts of the Marapendi Club.
The Pan Am Games are held every four years in the year immediately prior to the Olympic Summer Games. This year, an estimated 5,500 athletes from 42 countries are expected to compete in 33 sports. Past tennis standouts to have represented the United States include Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson, Luke Jensen, Patrick McEnroe, Chanda Rubin and Pam Shriver.
The United States claimed a record five medals at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, including a gold and silver in the men’s singles, a silver and a bronze in the women’s singles and a bronze for Bob and Mike Bryan in the men’s doubles. In the last Pan Am Games, in 2003 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the U.S. claimed three medals. Sarah Taylor won a silver medal in women’s singles, while Ansley Cargill claimed a bronze in women’s singles and Alex Kim took the bronze in men’s singles.
Since the inception of the Pan American Games in 1951, the United States has won 20 gold medals in the tennis competition and 41 medals in total.
The United States’ Pan American tennis team is made up of the top collegiate players in the country all finishing ranked in the top-15 nationally this past spring. There are four men and four women comprising the squad. The men’s team includes Stephen Bass of Notre Dame, Travis Helgeson of Georgia, Todd Paul of Wake Forest and Luke Shields of Boise State. The team will be coached by USTA National Coach Kent Kinnear. While the women’s team is comprised of NCAA champion Audra Cohen of Miami, and three other players ranked among the top 10: Megan Falcon of LSU, Natalie Frazier of Georgia and Kristi Miller of Georgia Tech. The women’s team will be led by North Carolina head coach Brian Kalbas.
All nominations are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee.