JCJC tennis teams optimistic about 2011 season

Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: shawn.wansley@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-02-16 19:12:04

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College tennis teams have enjoyed tremendous success over the years.

And 12th year head coach Mark Easley is optimistic about the prospects for his 2011 Bobcat netters.

“Our guys may be a bit further along than our women’s team right now because we’ve got so many new faces on our women’s team,” he said during Tennis Media Day here at the Bobcat Tennis Complex Wednesday afternoon. “We have had some scrimmages for the girls to get their feet wet and get over some jitters. But those scrimmages have helped both groups and I’ve been pleased with our effort.”

The Lady Bobcats have won two straight MACJC state championships, but they lost nine players off of last year’s 10-player roster that posted an impressive 17-1 regular season mark.

Easley said the team will be inexperienced and the newcomers will have to step up quickly.

“The two-year record of the class that graduated will stand up against anybody in the state,” he said. “They were very successful. But time does not stand still – it moves on and we’ve got to move on with this group.

“These girls are anxious to get out there and play and show themselves, the same way the other group did two years ago.”

The only returnee for the Lady Bobcats is George County sophomore Arlette Cochran. Cochran won the No. 5 singles consolation round in nationals last year.

The freshmen on this year’s women’s team are Lauren Carpenter of Lumberton, Brandy Freeman of Gautier, Rachel Jefcoat of West Jones, Amber Long of South Jones and Alison Rudolph of Northeast Jones.

The Bobcat men posted a 13-3 record last year and finished third in the state. They have four sophomores on their 10-man roster.

“We have a good group back and we’ve got some good freshmen coming in, including two international players, and that will help us a lot,” Easley said. “The key for us is to be able to build a solid lineup from top to bottom. I think one through six, we can have a good, solid lineup and I believe we can have a good year.”

They have some experience returning in sophomores Nathan Burkett of Columbia, Armand Deniakos of Laurel (home school) and Cade Sherman of West Jones. Mitchell Smith is a sophomore from Simpson Academy and played on the team two years ago.

Incoming freshmen will be Josh Agee of Laurel, Thomas Morgan and Casper Wansley of Laurel Christian School, Colby Prince of Northeast Jones and the international players, Sam Thorold of Leicestershire, England, and Nick Williams of Melbourne, Australia.

The Bobcats will open the season at home at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 against Northeast Mississippi Community College. The MACJC State Tournament will be held April 14-16 at Mississippi College in Clinton.


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