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Jackson State and Tennessee State Shine at HBCU Championships

By Cee Jai Jones/USTA Southern

The 17th Annual HBCU National Tennis Championships crowned its winners on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the South Fulton Tennis Center in College Park, GA. Jackson State (MS) University, coached by Lois Alexis, won the men’s title while Tennessee State University, under coach Monroe Walker III, captured the women’s title for the second straight year.

North Carolina Central University received the second-place trophy while Bluefield State claimed third-place for the men’s division.  In the women’s division, Jackson State won second place while Howard University finished third. 

The three-day competition featured 11 men’s teams, 13 women’s teams and just under 200 top talents representing NCAA Division I and II and NAIA tennis programs from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). 

Shelly Licorish, USTA Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator was pleased with the participation.  “Diversity in size is great, but one of the greater goals is diversity in the overall game. We say we want to make tennis look like America. The HBCUs and the diversity they bring with their teams and players is an integral part of that.”

In addition to collegiate competition, these student-athletes were also treated to a career seminar on the Professional Tennis Management Program by USTA’s Chris Michalowski.

Other HBCU participants included Alabama A&M, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Grambling State, Hampton, Johnson C. Smith, Shaw, Virginia State, and Xavier.

Singles and doubles championship results are below:

Men's A Singles Championship

(2) Alexander Rude [Bluefield] def. (1) Gabriel Cucalon [NCCU] 7-6, 6-4

Men's B Singles Championship

Giorgi Datashvili [Bluefield] def. Thiophanes Kontopoulos [NCCU] 2-6, 6-2, 6-1

Men's C Singles Championship

Tanishq Mahedru [TSU] def. Federico Mendieta [JSU] 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

Women's A Singles Championship

(2) Charlene Goreau [XULA] def. (1) Tyler Smith [JSU] 6-4, 7-5

Women's B Singles Championship

Yassmine Khiri [Howard] def. Lucia Solis [JSU] 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

Women's C Singles Championship

(1) Pragati Natraj [TSU] def. Aarushi Kakkar [TSU] 6-2, 6-2

Men's A Doubles Championship

[4] Gabriel Cucalon / Max Konovalov (NCCU) def.  Ignacio Pulido / Platon Gud (Bluefield) 8-7(7-5)

Men's B Doubles Championship

Pavle Popovic / Shashank Nautiyal (TSU) def.  Stylianos Gkontsaris / Vishu Prasad (JSU) 8-3

Women's A Doubles Championship

[4] Lucia Solis / Tyler Smith (JSU) def. Kindha Nasef / Yassmine Khiri (Howard) 8-6

Women's B Doubles Championship

[1] Pragati Natraj /Ani Popiashuili (TSU) def. Aarushi Kakkar /Abhilasha Vishwanath (TSU) 8-5

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