TEMPE, Ariz. - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2018 ITA JUCO Men's National Award winners on Monday, May 14, 2018.
Wilson ITA Coach of the Year – Wanda McPhail, Meridian Community College
McPhail recruited one of the strongest teams in terms of depth that she has ever had in her 18 years as Head Men's Coach at MCC. Her team dominated the state and regional tournaments, finishing six points ahead of the second place team. She is a fierce coaching competitor and coaches with great integrity. Through the years, she has assisted the NJCAA in many areas. McPhail's teams have been leaders in community involvement to help the sport of tennis grow at her school and area.
tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year – Simon Bardell, Meridian Community College
Bardell has volunteered for Meridian Community College for five semesters before taking the job as the assistant three semesters ago. During that time, he has proven an asset to the MCC program. He is great on the court with the players. He does all the duties of a head coach from room checks to study hall and did 80% of the court work the last two semesters. He does a great job in error correction and developing stragegy with the players. They place great confidence in his abilities.
ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship Award – Alexander Boozer, Gadsden Community College
Known for his excellent sportsmanship, Boozer has proven to be a top-level student in the classroom. He possesses a 4.0 GPA, and has received a presidential scholarship to attend UAB in Birmingham, Alabama.
ITA Rookie of the Year – Marcus Walters, Tyler Junior College
Walters posted a 22-3 record in singles and 21-3 in doubles. He won the JUCO singles and doubles ITA Oracle Cup titles this fall. Ranked No. 1 in the nation in the fall ranking in singles and doubles.
ITA Player to Watch – Alex Parker, Tyler Junior College
Parker put together an impressive season in singles and doubles, with records of 19-1 in singles and 21-4 in doubles. He finished third in doubles at 2017 ITA Oracle Cup, and was ranked No. 10 in the nation in singles in the fall. He has been a consistent competitor all year and has been a great team leader for TJC on the court.
ITA Most Improved Sophomore – Vitor Paulino, ABAC
Paulino was 6-5 on the spring season in singles, playing primarily at the No. 5 position. He was 7-6 in doubles at the No. 3 position. Last year he was not in the singles lineup and played No. 3 doubles.
ITA Sophomore Player of the Year – Tin Chen, ASA College Miami
Chen posted a 12-3 record in singles for 2017-2018, and has a 21-6 overall singles mark. In doubles, he was 13-2 this season, and 26-2 for his career. Chen won the 2017 ITA Regional Singles and Doubles championships, and was ranked No. 3 in singles and No. 2 in doubles.
ITA Community Service & Outreach Award – Meridian Community College
The MCC men's team set a high standard for community outreach and service in 2017-18. The team volunteered its time at the following: Food Drive and Donation for the Displaced Homemaker Food Pantry on campus, Street Strut for Breast Cancer downtown Meridian at Dumont Plaza, My College Cares at Collinsville United Methodist Church (yard work and striped two parking lots and painted exterior rails and handicap parking places, Run for Hope (to raise funds for Hope Village (former Masonic Orphanage) Orphanage at Bonita Lakes, helped with Special Olympics Bowling at Dixie Lane Bowls in Meridian, volunteered for Church of the Mediator Barbeque to help raise funds for United Way organizations, helped organize and collect items for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Donated items to victims of same hurricanes camping at a state park outside of Meridian, volunteered to help with tennis clinics for children in several locations. Several of the players volunteered at the Day of Wellness. They received a Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant for a wellness initiative and had a ribbon cutting and other activities to open the new walking trail on campus.
According to Coach McPhail, the biggest impact on the team was working with special needs children for the Special Olympics Bowling.
"I think these events more than any other help my players realize what a blessing it is to have the abilities they have to participate in tennis at the level they do. I think they also feel that they have really made these young people have a good day on those days," said McPhail.
The Run for Hope directly benefits the local orphanage. The Street Strut for Breast Cancer benefits everyone as every penny goes to the American Cancer Society. There are very few families not affected by Cancer. I think teaching tennis helps them to appreciate those who have spent time with them to improve their game. I will say over and over, "That my players volunteer every chance we get. I want them to know that we need to give back to society."