Co-Lin Men’s Tennis building on solid foundation

Published 7:30 am Saturday, February 5, 2022

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WESSON – Co-Lin Men’s Tennis is coming off a 2021 season that saw the Wolves earn success both on and off the court. On the court, the Wolves earned a berth to the NJCAA National Tournament while off the court the team earned the honor of being the MACCC All-Academic Team of the Year. Head coach Dana Hale is excited about getting the season started and expectations remain high for her team both on the court and in the classroom

“I am pretty excited to get started again this season,” said Hale. “Academics always come first for us, and all of my players finished this fall semester strong. I would like to repeat as the academic state champion on both sides. I like to start there because if you take care of business in the classroom then that definitely spills over to the courts.”

“One of our goals is to make it back to the Region 23 tournament by being one of the top six teams in the conference,” Hale added. “Another goal for our team is to be one of the top three in the regional tournament which would put us in the national tournament and repeat the success we had from last season.”

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The Wolf Pack roster for the 2022 season features 12 players including eight returning sophomores and four incoming freshmen. Coach Hale said that the national tournament experience had a lasting impact on her team.

“That was very important and huge for us last year because our players saw the level of competition that is out there at the national stage,” stated Hale. “On top of that learning experience, their level of excitement of making it to that tournament and the eagerness to make it back has been great for us. It was good for us to see the high level of competition at the national tournament.”

Returning sophomores include Julian Parada and Julian Toloza both from Bogota, Colombia along with Samuel Boutwell and Matthew Oster from Wesson, Jacob Lofton and Ty Nelson from Brookhaven, Mason Pounds of McComb, and Lawson Pearson of Wiggins. Walker Mitchell (Eupora) along with Rob JohnsonCaleb Myers, and August Sullivan all from Brookhaven makeup the incoming freshmen class.

“I have a lot of returning players for the men’s team including five of our top six players from last season. Our sophomores have been great leaders for us,” said Hale. “We have a lot of depth on that team including the number one and two singles players who are flipping positions this year and will still be our number one doubles team in Julian Parada and Julian Toloza. That is three big points for us in every match.”

“Our freshmen have made a big impact already for us in the fall and it is nice to see that both groups have meshed together so well,” added Hale. “Caleb Myers really stepped up for us in the fall and I expect that he might be able to jump up into the sixth singles position for us. I am also excited to see what Rob Johnson can do for us after his play in the fall.”

Coach Hale said she expects her team to be challenged this upcoming season by all the teams on their schedule. “The level at the international spots is definitely stronger this season. Meridian and Jones are two teams that we expect to compete with, and I believe that if we stay healthy then we will be battling for those top spots this season.”

“In college tennis you need five points to win the match and every position for us is valuable,” stated Hale. “It does not matter to me if we win the point in the number one singles position, the number six singles position, or the number three doubles spot. A point is a point. We may win a lot of matches 5-4 but that is still a win for us, and we will take it.”