TEMPE, Ariz. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its 2018 JUCO Women’s National Award winners on Monday, May 7, 2018, and the 2018 ITA JUCO Men’s National Award winners on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Wilson ITA Coach of the Year: Steven Dunmore, American River College
Dunmore’s team has amassed a record of 11-1 thus far in 2018. His team won the Big 8 North women’s conference this season. Dunmore is highly respected in the NorCal community college tennis community for his team’s quality of play and sportsmanship. He is a gentleman to all coaches and teams he plays.
tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Simon Bardell, Meridian Community College
Bardell volunteered with the program for four semesters before coming on board in the Spring of 2017 as a paid assistant. He has proven invaluable to the team. He is responsible for all court workouts. The men’s team won its region for the third straight season and the women have been the runner-up for two seasons and won it the season before. He works untiringly with the players to help them achieve their goals.
ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award: Rachel Sollie, Meridian Community College
This season, Sollie has played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. She finishes her career 27-21 in singles and 22-21 in doubles. Sollie has played all season with back and shoulder pain but with the help of sports medicine hung in there and finished the season. Sollie is a member and officer of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society of two-year institutions and is Vice President of Service. Her chapter was named Most Distinguished Chapter in 2018. She is a member of Phil Harden Honors College and received an Honors College Scholarship. She was a nominee for the H. M. Ivy Scholarship and the Circle of Excellence which will be awarded at graduation. She was an NJCAA First Time All-Academic winner in 2017 and is currently holding a 4.0. She was a 2017 ITA Scholar-Athlete recipient. Sollie has been on the President’s List all four semesters. She has been a part of Hurricane Harvey and Irma Relief through MCC’s Campus Life Organization. She was a volunteer for Read Across America at Crestwood Elementary, a city of Meridian Volunteer teaching tennis, helped collect goods in September for the MCC Single Parent/Displaced Homemaker Food Pantry, helped plan and work with PTK and the tennis team at Street Strut for Breast Cancer, “My College Cares volunteer, Voter Registration Drive Volunteer, Special Olympics Bowling Volunteer in Nov., and has volunteered with Aldersgate Retirement Community. She also is active in the Baptist Student Union, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and, of course, the Meridian CC Tennis Team.
ITA Rookie of the Year:Tamara Arnold, Tyler Junior College
Arnold has a 25-3 record in singles and 16-4 in doubles. Won the singles and doubles JUCO titles at the 2017 ITA Oracle Cup in the fall. Ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles in the fall Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis National rankings.
ITA Player to Watch:Valentina Gonzalez, Seminole State College
Gonzalez has had a very impressive freshman campaign, going 25-6 in singles and 24-9 in doubles. She won the 2017 ITA Regional Singles title, as well as teamed with partner Mariam Mujawimana to win the ITA Doubles title. She has been ranked as high as No. 7 in the country in singles, as as high as No. 4 in the country in doubles this season.
ITA Most Improved Sophomore:Lisa Khamassi, ASA College Miami
Khamassi had a 16-4 record in 2017 at mainly No. 5 singles, losing in the finals of the No. 5 flight. In 2018, she’s 16-11 after stepping up to the No. 1 singles position. She also carries a 20-5 mark in 2018 at the No. 1 flight in doubles and won the regional tournament. Khamassi is currently ranked No. 7 in singles and No. 3 in doubles.
Sophomore Player of the Year:Yuliana Monroy, Eastern Florida State College
Monroy’s record in singles was 18-4 for the year. She won Flight No. 1 singles in Florida becoming All-State in Junior College. She was 11-8 in doubles. Her current singles ranking nationally No. 3 and No. 7 in doubles. Monroy is leader on and off the court. She received all A’s this past semester and made the Honor Roll.
Community Service & Outreach Award: Meridian Community College
Meridian CC women have logged many hours of community service this year. They have volunteered with Street Strut for Breast Cancer in October. They were volunteers for the Run for Hope run. Run for Hope is a fundraiser for the local orphanage in Meridian sponsored by Sela Ward. The orphanage is called Hope Village. The team spent three Fridays in November working with Special Olympics bowling at their local bowling alley. The girls volunteered at a fundraiser with the Church of the Mediator who was raising funds to contribute to all of the agencies served through United Way in Meridian and Lauderdale County. There is an entire day of community service through the college called “My College Cares”. The women’s tennis team cleaned grounds and striped the parking lots of Collinsville United Methodist Church. They participated in Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief through donations and collected donations for the Meridian Community College food pantry. They also participated in Read Across America at a local elementary school, Crestwood.
Wilson ITA Coach of the Year – Wanda McPhail, Meridian Community College
McPhail recruited one of the strongest teams in terms of depth that she has ever had in her 18 years as Head Men’s Coach at MCC. Her team dominated the state and regional tournaments, finishing six points ahead of the second place team. She is a fierce coaching competitor and coaches with great integrity. Through the years, she has assisted the NJCAA in many areas. McPhail’s teams have been leaders in community involvement to help the sport of tennis grow at her school and area.
tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year – Simon Bardell, Meridian Community College
Bardell has volunteered for Meridian Community College for five semesters before taking the job as the assistant three semesters ago. During that time, he has proven an asset to the MCC program. He is great on the court with the players.
He does all the duties of a head coach from room checks to study hall and did 80% of the court work the last two semesters. He does a great job in error correction and developing stragegy with the players. They place great confidence in his abilities.
ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship Award – Alexander Boozer, Gadsden Community College
Known for his excellent sportsmanship, Boozer has proven to be a top-level student in the classroom. He possesses a 4.0 GPA, and has received a presidential scholarship to attend UAB in Birmingham, Alabama.
ITA Rookie of the Year – Marcus Walters, Tyler Junior College
Walters posted a 22-3 record in singles and 21-3 in doubles. He won the JUCO singles and doubles ITA Oracle Cup titles this fall. Ranked No. 1 in the nation in the fall ranking in singles and doubles.
ITA Player to Watch – Alex Parker, Tyler Junior College
Parker put together an impressive season in singles and doubles, with records of 19-1 in singles and 21-4 in doubles. He finished third in doubles at 2017 ITA Oracle Cup, and was ranked No. 10 in the nation in singles in the fall. He has been a consistent competitor all year and has been a great team leader for TJC on the court.
ITA Most Improved Sophomore – Vitor Paulino, ABAC
Paulino was 6-5 on the spring season in singles, playing primarily at the No. 5 position. He was 7-6 in doubles at the No. 3 position. Last year he was not in the singles lineup and played No. 3 doubles.
ITA Sophomore Player of the Year – Tin Chen, ASA College Miami
Chen posted a 12-3 record in singles for 2017-2018, and has a 21-6 overall singles mark. In doubles, he was 13-2 this season, and 26-2 for his career. Chen won the 2017 ITA Regional Singles and Doubles championships, and was ranked No. 3 in singles and No. 2 in doubles.
ITA Community Service & Outreach Award – Meridian Community College
The MCC men’s team set a high standard for community outreach and service in 2017-18. The team volunteered its time at the following: Food Drive and Donation for the Displaced Homemaker Food Pantry on campus, Street Strut for Breast Cancer downtown Meridian at Dumont Plaza, My College Cares at Collinsville United Methodist Church (yard work and striped two parking lots and painted exterior rails and handicap parking places, Run for Hope (to raise funds for Hope Village (former Masonic Orphanage) Orphanage at Bonita Lakes, helped with Special Olympics Bowling at Dixie Lane Bowls in Meridian, volunteered for Church of the Mediator Barbeque to help raise funds for United Way organizations, helped organize and collect items for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Donated items to victims of same hurricanes camping at a state park outside of Meridian, volunteered to help with tennis clinics for children in several locations. Several of the players volunteered at the Day of Wellness. They received a Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant for a wellness initiative and had a ribbon-cutting and other activities to open the new walking trail on campus.
According to Coach McPhail, the biggest impact on the team was working with special needs children for the Special Olympics Bowling.
“I think these events more than any other help my players realize what a blessing it is to have the abilities they have to participate in tennis at the level they do. I think they also feel that they have really made these young people have a good day on those days,” said McPhail.
The Run for Hope directly benefits the local orphanage. The Street Strut for Breast Cancer benefits everyone as every penny goes to the American Cancer Society. There are very few families not affected by Cancer. I think teaching tennis helps them to appreciate those who have spent time with them to improve their game. I will say over and over, “That my players volunteer every chance we get. I want them to know that we need to give back to society.”