The Florida A&M University men tennis team didn’t partake in the Atlanta Classic festivities this weekend, however, the team was busy cultivating its own reason to celebrate after taking home first place at the 7th Annual HBCU National Tennis Championships.
The team walked away from Sugar Creek Golf and Tennis Center as first place winners after beating other HBCU’s, Xavier and Hampton University, scoring 38 points by passing the competition in Atlanta.
Head Coach Carl Goodman said he was impressed with his team’s performance and couldn’t ask for anything more this weekend.
“Looking back, our players dominated in all flights,” Goodman said. “They performed extremely well.”
The tournament format, which featured a points system, pitted the Rattlers against each other in the final rounds of the tournament.
The inner team competition included 5 out of 6 Rattlers who made it to the finals during the tournament.
In the Flight A singles finals, Artiom Podgainii defeated teammate Clifford Malivert 6-2, 6-4.
According to Malivert, once Podgainii was on the other side of the net, he was no longer his teammate but he immediately became his competition.
“The match was not taken lightly,” Malivert said. “Although we were teammates we’re still trying to be individual champions.”
In the Flight A doubles finals, Malivert and Podgainii defeated teammates Paul Paige and Simbarashe Happy, 8-5.
Maurice Wamukowa, a freshman from Kenya, made his debut after defeating Hampton’s Gabriel Groh 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 in the Flight B Singles final.
Goodman said he brought in new players to do big things for the team and the freshmen’s Wamukowa and Michael Moore did just that.
Newcomer Moore defeated Mauricio Ortiz (Morgan State) 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals, but eventually went down to teammate Paige 4-6, 6-3, and 10-3.
“The freshman showed up and played well this weekend,” said Malivert. “I am really confident in the team this year, especially our freshmen’s.”
Sophomore Paul Paige shined in the Flight C division over freshman teammate Moore prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 10-3.
The Rattlers look forward to preparing for the remainder of the fall pre season. They will be taking part of the Jackson University Invitational October 13-15 in Jacksonville, Fl.