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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Nestor Briceno got a head start to the courtroom a little sooner than he would've liked.

The law school hopeful was eliminated in the second round of NCAA singles play when his comeback attempt came up short against Pepperdine's Bassam Beidas 3-6, 3-6, 7-5. Beidas would then go on to upset Georgia's No. 4 Travis Hegelson 6-1,6-4.

If Briceno had upset Beidas, he would've nailed down an All-American honor, something coach Andy Jackson said he wanted "very badly for him." But instead Briceno, one of just two seniors on the team, will have to settle for finishing fifth all-time in UF singles wins at 105.

"Nestor, in my opinion, hasn't gotten the credit for his play of tennis," Jackson said. "He's been overshadowed by [Jesse] Levine or Greg [Ouellette]. To be top five all-time in wins at Florida speaks to the level that we all knew he had. He had just an outstanding career."

After coming in at No. 91 last fall, Briceno's ranking - and play - improved throughout his senior year as his win totals continued to climb up the charts.

"For four years he was one of the guys that you definitely could count on," Jackson said. "If we could get it close and put Nestor in a chance to win it, then we felt good about our chances."

And for someone who, according to Jackson, had made tennis his top priority in life up until college, getting any type of degree is an accomplishment - let alone making it into law school.

Plus, for a team full of freshmen, he has "showed them how it's done" as Jackson said.

"I wouldn't want to be in the law room with him either," he said, "Because I have a feeling his toughness is going to grow."

Briceno is currently on the wait list at UF, but his coach said he will be going to law school somewhere.

OUELLETTE TAKES AWARD:

Ouellette won the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award on Saturday, which goes to a men's tennis senior who plans to pursue a professional career. Jackson has said he thinks Ouellette will be an outstanding professional.

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