By NEMS Daily Journal
The tennis team at Itawamba Community College had a strong weekend at the MACJC tournament at Rob League City Park, as the men easily won a state title and the women finished second.
Both squads advance to the Region 23 tournament starting Tuesday in Meridian.
“The men really dominated,” veteran ICC head coach Paul Johnson said, as the Indians won their fifth state championship since 2000 by winning four of six singles titles and all three doubles matches on Saturday. ICC outscored runner-up Hinds 33-21.
“I thought we could win it, but I didn’t know if we’d be able to dominate,” Johnson said. “I knew the team had the talent to succeed.”
All but one of the ICC men’s finalists were freshmen.
Alex Thomas of Tupelo won at No. 3 singles and teamed with Josh Fulgham to win No. 2 doubles in three sets.
Other ICC singles winners: Ethan Wilkinson (No. 1), Josh Fulgham (No. 4), Wesley Raines (No. 5). The other winning doubles teams were Wilkinson-Leo Prudencio (No. 1) and Raines-Tyler Walker (No. 3). Walker is a sophomore.
The women’s second-place finish, 26-22 behind Jones, surprised their coach. “They’d been a middle-of-the-pack team all season and I thought third would be a great finish,” Johnson said. “We had some young ladies who really played their hearts out.”
Mooreville sophomore Lori Beth Byrd and West Point freshman Tiara Dismukes lost in their singles finals but teamed to win at No. 3 doubles., beating Rebecca Epps and Sue Leverett of Pearl River 1-6, 6-4, 7-5.
“It was a great weekend of tennis,” said Johnson. “We had great weather and the Tupelo Parks and Recreation Dept. did a great job hosting the event.”
At this weekend’s regional, the ICC men will be fighting for their 10th consecutive trip to the nationals. The top two teams, men’s and women’s, will advance.