TYLER, TX – After five days of fierce competition from the 2023 NJCAA Division I Women’s Championships, it is Hillsborough Community College who has been crowned National Champions, finishing just above Cowley Community College in total points to take home the title.
Marking their second National Championship in program history, Hillsborough CC went wire-to-wire this season, beginning the season ranked No. 1 in the ITA National Collegiate Rankings sponsored by Tennis-Point and ending the year with another trophy to add to the trophy case.
Finishing with 46 combined points over the five days of play, Hillsborough topped Cowley (43 points), Tyler (38 points), St. Petersburg (30 points), and Abraham Baldwin (27 points) who all finished in 2nd-5th place respectively.
The Lady Hawks picked up their first flight win from the No. 3 singles draw as Ita Habekovic outlasted Isid Hernandez (Cowley) in three sets to secure maximum points for Hillsborough. The sophomore for the Lady Hawks entered the draw as the No. 1 seeded player and only dropped 13 games over three matches prior to the final.
Continuing in singles, Alicia Gomez was another Lady Hawk to win her singles flight, taking down Yeva Kramarova (Tyler) in another three-set thriller at the No. 4 singles line. After dropping a tight 6-7 (1) first set to Kramarova, Gomez dug deep in the second set, winning 7-6 (5) to keep the match alive before she was ultimately able to close out the victory with a 6-1 win in the third set.
At the No. 6 line, Hillsborough added to their point total once again as the freshman, Paula Cabrer-Pericas, dominated throughout the tournament to help propel her team to victory. Over her four matches played, Cabrer-Pericas only lost 10 games, including a 6-0, 6-0 win in the Quarterfinals and a 6-0, 6-1 win in the Semifinals.
Across doubles play the Lady Hawks continued to tack on points, winning both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles draws.
From the No. 1 doubles position, Esmee Andersen and Arina Gamretkaia came out as Champions. The Hillsborough duo were the top-seeded pairing at the NJCAA National Championships and didn’t lose a single set across all of their matches this past week in Tyler.
Following up on this success from the No. 2 doubles position, Yoana Dudova and Alicia Gomes fought their way through a difficult field of opponents to secure another first-place finish for the Lady Hawks.
After finishing runners-up to Tyler Junior College each of the past two seasons, this year marked the crescendo of years of hard work for head coach Sarah Lytle as her vision has come to fruition at the 2023 NJCAA National Championships. Lytle was also named the Coach of the Tournament for her impressive effort this past weekend and over the entirety of the season.
Read below for more details on the final team standings and All-American teams:
Full Final Team Standings
- 1. Hillsborough: 46 points
- 2. Cowley: 43 points
- 3. Tyler: 38 points
- 4. St. Petersburg: 30 points
- 5. ABAC: 27 points
- 6. Seward: 26 points
- 7. Collin: 25 points
- 8. Barton: 24 points
- 9. State College of Florida: 20 points
- 10. Eastern Florida: 19.5 points
- 11. USC Sumter: 17 points
- 12. Jones: 15 points
- 12. Mississippi Gulf Coast: 15 points
- 14. Wallace State: 14.5 points
- 15. Weatherford: 13 points
- 16. Coastal Alabama: 10.5 points
- 17. Iowa Central: 10 points
- 18. Meridian: 9 points
- 19. Central Alabama: 8.5 points
- 20. East Central: 8.5 points
- 21. Moraine Valley: 8 points
- 22. Eastern Arizona: 7.5 points
- 23. Lewis & Clark: 7 points
- 23. Mesa: 7 points
- 25. Mercer: 3.5 points
- 26. Sauk Valley: 1 point
- 27. Lake County: 0.5 point
- 28. Jacksonville: 0 points
- 29. Oakton: 0 points
2023 NJCAA Division I Women’s Tennis All-America Teams
First Team Singles All-Americans:
- No. 1 Singles – Camille Belberka, Seward County, SO
- No. 2 Singles – Arina Bebenko, Cowley CC, FR
- No. 3 Singles – Ita Habekovic, Hillsborough CC, SO
- No. 4 Singles – Alicia Gomez, Hillsborough CC, SO
- No. 5 Singles – Mariia Koroleva, Cowley CC, SO
- No. 6 Singles – Paula Cabrer-Pericas, Hillsborough CC, FR
First Team Doubles All-Americans:
- No. 1 Doubles – Esmee Andersen/Arina Gamretkaia, Hillsborough CC
- No. 2 Doubles – Yoana Dudova/Alicia Gomes, Hillsborough CC
- No. 3 Doubles – Yeva Kramarova/Zoi Spyrou, Tyler JC
Second Team Singles All-Americans:
- No. 1 Singles – Alexandra Melnikova, Cowley CC, FR
- No. 2 Singles – Carol Mora, Seward County, SO
- No. 3 Singles – Isid Hernandez, Cowley CC, SO
- No. 4 Singles – Yeva Kramarova, Tyler JC, SO
- No. 5 Singles – Natalia Michta, Tyler JC, FR
- No. 6 Singles – Camila Neyra, Cowley CC, SO
Second Team Doubles All-Americans:
- No. 1 Doubles – Jou Chen Chen/Nicole Dufour, Abraham Baldwin
- No. 2 Doubles – Arina Babenko/Ntokozo Zungu, Cowley CC
- No. 3 Doubles – Lilia Jerry/Patricia Principal Pineda, Abraham Baldwin