Bobcat tennis teams add more talent

Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: shawn.wansley@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-06-23 14:08:25

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College has enjoyed tremendous success on the tennis courts during the tenure of head coach Mark Easley.

And the Bobcats hope to continue their winning ways with the addition of five prep standouts, which were announced on Thursday morning during the live “Bobcat Tennis Signing Special,” which aired on JCJC-TV.

“I’m excited about these players,” said Easley, who has coached the Bobcat tennis teams for 12 years. “We think they will help us in a big way going into next year. We are still looking for one more international player for the women’s team and we could go all the way up to the semester break there.”

Aja White of Purvis and South African Alicia Domoney are the two women’s tennis signees.

“Aja really stood out at tryouts,” Easley said. “She has good strokes and is a good athlete. She has good character, too. She just got back from a mission trip and is concerned about others. She is an intense player on the court.

“Other than e-mail, I have not talked with Alicia. I have talked with her dad several times by email. I have not seen her play in person, I’ve just been able to watch her play on video posted on the internet through recruiting services. It looks like she hits the ball well and she really wants to be here.”

The three men’s recruits are Josh Lomas of Petal, Daniel Sullivan of South Jones and Tanner Chamblee of East Rankin Academy.

“Josh is a southpaw,” Easley said. “He has a nice serve, hits the ball well and is a good athlete. He’s a competitor, too. He does not like to lose.

“Daniel only started playing tennis three years ago, so he has a lot of upside.  He has a good work ethic, so I know he will put in the time and effort needed to get to that next level. He is a local guy and I was able to see him play a lot during his high school career.

“Tanner showed an interest in our program. He came to see us play in the state tournament at Clinton. He came down to our tryouts and showed he was a good athlete, too. He hits the ball well, is a good player and is another high-quality kid.”

On the women’s side, the Lady Bobcats went 9-5 this past year, finished tied for third in the MACJC State Tournament (one point out of first place) and just missed out on qualifying for Region 23 via a tiebreaker. They had won two straight state titles and had been to nationals six of the past seven years.

The men’s team went 10-3 in the regular season, finished second in the state tournament, third in the Region 23 Tournament and 16th in the NJCAA Tournament in Plano, Texas, in early May.

Easley hopes the addition of these recruits will help both squads return to nationals in 2012.

“I hope we make it,” he said. “That’s what we’re shooting for, of course. But I think it’s going to be a good year. We are going to do the things we need to do and we will let the winning and losing take care of itself.”

Easley credits the success in the tennis program, as well as the other athletic and academic programs at JCJC, to school president Dr. Jesse Smith, the JCJC Board of Trustees, administration and staff.

“Dr. Smith is very academically oriented and very sports oriented,” he said. “He wants us to be successful in whatever we do. He wants to win and he wants to win the right way.

“The bar is set high for us, but that’s fine. At least we know what we have to strive for in order to be successful.”

Easley also noted the JCJC tennis complex is tops in the MACJC.

“We have the finest on-site facility in the state,” he said. “I think it was built in 1994, but we have resurfaced it a couple of times on schedule. I think Dr. Smith has some plans to put some bleachers there and possibly other things to make it even better.”

Thursday’s show was hosted by JCJC Director of Sports Broadcasting Lance Pittman and featured interviews with school athletic director Katie Herrington, Easley and the signees.

Herrington said tennis is a shining star at JCJC.

“We have had a lot of success with our programs,” she said. “Tennis has been very good for a long time, not only on the courts, but academically as well. We had several nominated for Academic All-American this year and one young man (Cade Sherman) won the Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, which is a very prestigious honor.

“We have some true student-athletes in tennis.”

Fans can watch a replay of Thursday’s show by going to www.jcjc.tv.

 

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