Lady Indians earn Top 20 finish in NJCAA Tennis Championships

ICC women earn Top 20 finish in NJCAA Tennis Championships
Adam Gore/ICC Sports Information Department

The Itawamba Community College women's tennis program finished No. 17 in the 2012 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tennis Championships last week in Tyler, Texas.

"I am proud of how the girls played all week long," said ICC Hall of Fame tennis coach Paul Johnson. "We didn't get the best draws of the tournament and that makes a big difference in where you finish as a team."

In singles action, No. 1 Amy Evans (Ravenshoe, Queensland, Australia), No. 2 Sommer Burnett (Aberdeen), No. 4 Anna-Blair Hunt (Senatobia), No. 5 Bianca Stephens (Hernando) advanced to the Sweet 16 of the championship bracket. No. 6 Brennan Harris (Amory) advanced to the consolation bracket quarterfinals while No. 3 Katherine Downing (Pontotoc) made it to the Sweet 16 of the consolation bracket.

In doubles play, the No. 1 duo of Evans and Burnett advanced to the Sweet 16 of the championship bracket while No. 3 duo Hunt and Harris advanced to the consolation bracket quarterfinals and No. 2 duo Downing and Frankie Turner (Pontotoc) finished in the Sweet 16 of the consolation bracket.

"We drew some of the nationally-ranked players early in the tournament, but the girls held their own against them," said Johnson, who was named MACJC Men's Coach of the Year in April. "They didn't let the rankings intimidate them and fought hard all the way to the end."

The Lady Indians spent the entire season ranked amongst the best in the nation according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) NJCAA Women's National Rankings starting preseason ranked No. 24 and entering the National Championships at No. 22.

"I'm really proud of the year we had," Johnson said. "I feel like we kept getting better as the season went along and started playing our best tennis in the postseason."

ICC earned its second-straight Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) tennis championship and finished runner-up in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament in April. The Lady Indians earned the highest finish in the national tournament amongst participating MACJC programs.