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WESSON – Co-Lin Women’s tennis had a 2021 season that featured on the court as well as off the court success for the Lady Wolves. On the court, the Lady Wolves earned a berth to the NJCAA Division I National Tennis Tournament, while off the court the team was named the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference All-Academic Team of the Year for both women’s tennis and overall posting a 3.9 GPA which was the highest mark of any team in the MACCC. Head coach Dana Hale says that the expectations for her team remain high to repeat that success and that the excitement for the upcoming season is building.
“I am excited about this upcoming season for our team after the success of last season,” Hale said. “Academics is where we like to start our success and we are coming off a strong fall both on the court and in the classroom, so I am hoping that the spring is good for us too. I like to start with and place just as much importance on academics because I believe that if you take care of things the right way in the classroom then that spills over to playing on the courts.”
“Our goals on the court this season include being one of the top six teams in the conference which would put us in the Region 23 Tournament,” added Hale. “Beyond that, we also want to finish as one of the top three in the Region 23 tournament and punch our ticket to the national tournament for a repeat appearance.”
The 2022 Lady Wolves roster features 10 players including three returning sophomores and seven incoming new freshmen.
“Our sophomores are going to be very important for us from a leadership aspect,” stated Hale. “Having that leadership from those sophomores is going to be very beneficial for our freshmen who are making adjustments to a new level of competition.”
The three returning sophomores are Britany Barnett, Morgyn Brister, and Gracee Warren all of Brookhaven. Makiyah Adams of Byram, Juliana Madrid of Bogota, Colombia, Valeria Rodriguez of Bradenton, Florida, Keegan Thurman of Monticello, along with Kassidy Cupit, Grace Payton, and Makayla Martin all of Brookhaven makeup the incoming freshmen class.
“I am pretty excited about having Britany Barnett back with us because she has been a two-year player for us,” said Hale. “She got a third year of eligibility because of COVID and said that she has missed playing so much that she wants to come back which gives us a very solid and consistent player. Morgyn Brister and Gracee Warren are tremendous leaders for our team both on and off the court.”
“Both of my internationals on the women’s side are freshman this year, but I think that both Juliana Madrid and Valeria Rodriguez are capable of winning a lot of matches for us this season,” added Hale. “I feel like those two along with Keegan Thurman who is very athletic and has a strong first serve will step up for this season.”
Coach Hale said she expects strong challenges from all the Lady Wolves opponents this season. “The international competition at our level has definitely improved from last year to this year. Jones, Gulf Coast, and Meridian are going to be the teams that we are competing against for those top spots in the conference and staying healthy for us will be a big boost to helping us accomplish our goals and be in competition for those top spots.”
“I think that having our mindset in the right spot and staying healthy will be crucial to our success this season as well as overcoming potential weather hazards that can plague our sport during the season,” stated Hale. “If we can overcome those obstacles then I believe we will have a successful season and accomplish our goals.”
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