Oneonta State men's tennis finally has a place to call home.
The Red Dragons announced Friday that their men's tennis team has been accepted as an associate member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference for the upcoming spring season. The move marks the first time in nearly two decades that the program will be affiliated with a conference as the SUNY Athletic Conference discontinued its sponsorship of the sport in 1989.
As part of the NEAC, which includes first-year NCAA Division III program SUNY Cobleskill, the Red Dragons will be eligible to compete in conference matches and the April 23-24 postseason tournament at the Birchwood Tennis and Fitness Center in Clarks Summit, Pa.
The NEAC will not receive an automatic NCAA D-III Tournament bid for its conference champion until 2012, two seasons after it joins the North Atlantic Conference to bring their combined membership to 11 programs. The NAC champion will be determined by a playoff between the division winners of each conference.
Each conference has five members, but the NEAC will add Penn State-Abington in 2010. The other NEAC programs are O-State, Cobleskill, Penn State-Berks, Penn State-Harrisburg and Keuka College, which will compete for the 2009 conference title and will be eligible for NCAA Pool B consideration this spring.
Castleton State, Green Mountain College, Johnson State, Lyndon State and Thomas College of Maine compete in the NAC, which has a three-year agreement with the NEAC and thus must wait the mandatory two years before it becomes eligible for an automatic-qualifier berth to the NCAAs.
Before the SUNYAC dropped men's tennis, O-State won conference titles outright in the spring seasons of 1967, 1969, 1970 and 1971 and in the fall seasons of 1972, 1973 and 1976. The Red Dragons also shared the 1972 SUNYAC spring championship with Albany.
Oneonta, which went 5-1 in dual matches in the fall, will play its four NEAC opponents this spring and compete against non-conference foes St. Lawrence University, Rensselaer and Hartwick College.
The NEAC Tournament features team competition on the first day to determine a conference champion and follows with individual competitions at the six singles and three doubles spots on the second day.
The top four singles players and the top four doubles teams in each flight, which will be seeded based on regular-season NEAC competition, will compete on the second day of the tournament.
The SUNYAC named Oneonta State senior Eric Theiss its indoor track athlete of the week, the Red Dragons announced Wednesday.
Theiss led O-State at the St. Lawrence University Holiday Relays last Saturday with a first-place finish of 48.62 seconds in the 400-meter run. Theiss provisionally qualified for the NCAA D-III Championships in March with his performance, which broke the SUNYAC record of 48.91 set by Plattsburgh's Jeff Dobson on Feb. 9, 2007.
Theiss also hit the Eastern College Athletic Conference standard in the 55 at 6.54 seconds.
SUNY Cobleskill named junior women's basketball point guard Gina Parillo its athlete of the week Tuesday.
Parillo averaged 13.3 points, 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds in victories at Albany College of Pharmacy (70-61 in overtime), against visiting Keuka (78-67) and at Lyndon State (63-56). She scored a season-high 19 points against Lyndon.