TEMPE, Ariz. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2016 Junior and Community Colleges national men’s award winners on Monday, May 16, 2016. Players and coaches that received ITA regional awards were eligible for national consideration.
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Jeff Benito, Cowley College
A 13-year coaching veteran, Benito has fielded competitive teams at each of the institutions he has coached at previously, and has kept up the tradition at Cowley College. In his first two seasons at Cowley, Benito’s teams have posted records of 17-12 and 16-11. Also competitive in the classroom, Benito’s current team at Cowley sports a 3.46 GPA. Benito worked for six years for the USTA in various capacities from volunteer all the way to Director of Junior Team Tennis at the Southern California Section office. Jeff serves on countless committees to help further the sport of tennis and advocate for the student-athletes.
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Reggie Dearman, Meridian Community College
Dearman began at Meridian Community College as a volunteer driver of the team van. He has grown to become much more than just a driver in the last four years. He’s attended workshops to become more knowledgeable from a coaching standpoint, and is constantly reading or watching videos to improve his knowledge of the game. Dearman has adhered himself to the players, helping them both on and off the court.
ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Thomas Walter Harrington, Meridian Community College
Meridian Community College’s team captain, Harrington is the current President of the Phi Theta Kappa Nu Epsilon Chapter National Honor Society. He was selected a member of the 2016 USA/MS All-Star Academic Team First Team. He is a member of, and an officer in, the Ivy League Recruiters, which is MCC’s student recruiting organization. He was a member of MCC’s Chorus and Classical Guitar Ensemble in the fall, where he performed for groups in and around the Meridian community. Harrington is actively involved in the life of MCC’s school and community. He’s been involved in Read Across America, Love’s Kitchen and Street Strut for Breast Cancer.
ITA Sophomore Player of the Year: Guy Iradukunda, Seminole State College
Iradukunda has followed up a 39-5 freshman campaign with a 32-5 sophomore season and No. 1 national ranking. He’s won the fall 2014 ITA Regional Singles Title, fall 2014 ITA National Singles title and the fall 2015 Regional Singles and Doubles titles. In his two years at Seminole State College, he’s never been ranked lower than No. 4. In 2015-16, Iradukunda, who has signed with Florida State University, won the Southwest JUCO No. 1 Singles Championship.
ITA Most Improved Player of the Year: Ciro Lampasas, Tyler Junior College
Lampasas has posted a 12-3 record in singles and 13-6 record in doubles. He reached the semifinals of the fall 2015 ITA Regional Championships in both singles and doubles. Lampasas is currently ranked No. 13 nationally in singles and No. 17 in doubles.
ITA Player to Watch: Chisomo Lumeta, Seminole State College
Lumeta has had a very nice freshman campaign at Seminole State College, going 29-4 in singles and 19-6 in doubles for a combined record of 48-10. He’s ranked nationally in both singles and doubles, with the doubles ranking reaching as high as No. 16. Lumeta won the No. 4 singles title at the Southwest JUCO Championships in Plano, Texas, with three straight set wins over opponents from Jacksonville, Collin and Tyler.
ITA Rookie of the Year: Ferran Calvo, Tyler Junior College
To date, Calvo has posted a combined 39-7 record between singles and doubles. Calvo, who is currently ranked No. 2 nationally in singles, has an 18-5 mark and won the singles championship at the 2015 National Small College Championships. In doubles, he’s 21-2 and is ranked No. 3 nationally.
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