OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - The Seminole State College Trojan Men's and Women's teams showed this past weekend they will be a team to reckon with in NJCAA this year. Both teams accomplished a feat that not many junior colleges have ever done, by winning all four titles, Women's Singles, Women's Doubles, Men's Singles, and Men's Doubles, at the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region Championships.
Celia Respaut, a freshman from Reunion Island, France won the Women's singles draw without being pushed. Respaut won her first three rounds 6-0; 6-0, and then beat Seward County's Dariya Dashutina in the Finals 6-2; 6-2. With the win, Respaut's overall singles record this fall now moves to 12-0.
Respaut then teamed up later Saturday afternoon with teammate Kirstie Symon to capture the Women's Doubles Championship, with a 6-2; 6-3 win over Seward County's Fanny Benincasa and Dariya Dashutina. Respaut and Symon won their Quaterfinal and Semi-Final matches on Friday rather handily.
Other noteworthy performances on the women's side came from Jordan Bates, who lost her first round singles match but battled back with two straight wins to make the Consolation Championship. Bates ended up losing that match to Kauna Goncalves of Seward County 6-2; 6-2.
Over on the men's side, the Trojan men totally dominated the competition. SSC entered six men into the sixteen draw, and moved all six to the quarterfinals. The "quarters" is where a few upsets came to be, all in the Trojans favor. Corey Huggins took out Cowley County Community College's #1 player Joan Valls, while Jason Blakey-Milner took out Johnson County Community College's #1 player. These upsets were huge for Trojans, and made it an all-Seminole State semi-final. The Semi-Final matches paired Mbonisi Ndimande vs. Corey Huggins, and Admire Mushonga vs. Jason Blakey-Milner. Both matches were tight, but Ndimande and Mushonga came out on top and would play each other in the finals on Sunday. The singles championship match was moved back home to Seminole, since it paired two teammates together. Mbonisi Ndimande ended up winning the Championship 6-4; 6-4 over Admire Mushonga.
In men's doubles, SSC had three pairs in the eight draw, and were able to move two of them into the semi-finals. The two pairs that competed in the semi-finals were Mbonisi Ndimande and Admire Mushonga, as well as Robert Martin and Jason Blakey-Milner. Both SSC teams won their semi-final, and met each other in the championship match. Ndimande and Mushonga were the tournament's top seed, but would be upset by Milner and Martin by a score of 6-3; 7-5.
In total, six Seminole State Trojan tennis players will advance to the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships next week to be held in Mobile, Alabama. Those players are: Kirstie Symon, Celia Respaut, Mbonisi Ndimande, Jason Blakey-Milner, Robert Martin, and Admire Mushonga. Draws for the tournament are to be posted on the ITA website on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010.
"This weekend might have been the proudest I have ever been of any of my teams since I've been at SSC," said Head Coach Brian Nelson. "Our men and women were prepared and in the right mind frame, as they came out and won many close matches as well as making some upsets. Our men showed we can be one of the best in the nation as some of our lower guys beat the top players from other teams. Our women did an awesome job also as we captured both singles and doubles titles, and had one player in the consolation championship. I can't wait to compete in Mobile and try to bring home a national championship for SSC."