Utah State men’s tennis was selected to participate in the 2016 ITA Division I Kick-Off Weekend and plays at Oklahoma on Jan. 23. The Aggies are just one of 61 teams in the nation selected to participate and received the bid after finishing No. 68 in the country last season.

“I’m very excited for the program, as this invitation was not given, but earned through our results this past season,” head men’s tennis coach Clancy Shields said. “There are only 61 teams in the nation that get to play in the Indoor Championships, so to be in the mix with these elite programs is very exciting and shows the progress we have made in a short time.”

Utah State faces Oklahoma in the first round, a team that advanced to the finals of the 2015 NCAA Championships, falling to Virginia. The Sooners were ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation during 2015 and will prove to be a formidable opponent.

Utah State will be joined by UT San Antonio and Troy, teams that finished No. 62 and No. 63 in the national polls last season. The teams will each play two matches with the winner of the group advancing to play in the 2016 ITA Indoor Championships at Virginia on Feb. 12-15.

“We are making a splash on a national stage, and have the opportunity to play, arguably, the best team in the country,” Shields said. “I’m sure our team will be very excited for this opportunity and have a lot of motivation for the summer and fall months.”

Utah State is the only team in the state of Utah and one of four teams in the Mountain West among the ITA Kick-Off Weekend field. The Aggies join Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State in representing the Mountain West when the tournament begins.

The bid to the championships is the first in school history for the Aggies after a record-setting 18-9 year, breaking the school record of 16 wins set in 1970. The campaign included a victory at BYU, the first for the program in school history, and a 5-2 mark in the Mountain West, finishing as the No. 2 seed going into the Mountain West Tournament.

Kyle Cottam is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Utah State University.