Fang Gang thrives in HBCU tourney

The Florida A&M University men’s and women’s tennis teams competed in the 9th Annual HBCU National Tennis Championship . The event was held  this past weekend at the Sugar Creek Golf and Tennis Club in Atlanta this past weekend.  

This year’s championship was well represented  with competitors from 13 HBCUs: FAMU, Bethune-Cookman University, Hampton University, North Carolina  A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Winston-Salem State University, Southern University, Alabama A&M University, Arkansas Pine Bluff, Prairie View A&M University, Xavier University (Louisiana), Fort Valley State University, and Morehouse College. There were more than 150 participants.

This was the Fang Gang’s third consecutive HBCU championship win.
FAMU team captain Michael Moore, a junior, won the A Flight draw against fellow teammate, senior David Jackson.  They both teamed up to win the Flight A doubles draw as well. 

Freshmen Takura Happy and Rashaad “Harold” Williams teamed up to reach the C flight doubles draw semi-finals.  Happy was able to win the C flight singles draw earlier in the tournament.

With these performances, FAMU’s men team accumulated the most points, which allowed them to win the team competition. Bethune-Cookman and Xavier took second and third place. 

Moore felt the Fang Gang had a great showing.

“The freshmen played well and the upperclassmen led the way with strong performances,” Moore said. “This was our first real tournament and it definitely made us unite as a team, so hopefully with each tournament we’ll get better and more prepared for our Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matches this spring.”  

Jackson also felt that the men’s tennis team had a great weekend. 

“We definitely had a few close matches that could have gone either way, but we came through with the victories that were needed,” Jackson said. “I feel like I played really well in singles and in doubles.”

“Singles is our strong point but we need to work on doubles more in practice heading into the new year to become more well-rounded,” Moore said.
Jackson, Moore’s teammate and doubles partner, had very similar goals and expectations.

“I want to work on being able to serve and volley more in my matches and transition more from the baseline to the net during points,” Jackson said.

The Lady Rattlers came in third place in this year’s championship behind Southern University and Hampton University.

Despite senior Rachael Pye losing a very close and highly contested Flight A singles final, sophomore Alexis Brown, battled to reach the Flight B singles final. 

In the doubles competition, Rachael Pye and Latreece Olagbegi reached the semi-finals of Flight A doubles finals while Kitrine Durden and Alexis Brown reached the semi-finals of Flight B doubles draw.

 Pye said she was proud of the Lady Rattlers results but not satisfied.

“I think we played well this weekend and the competition was much more competitive this weekend than last year, but we failed to rise to the occasion, especially in doubles,” Pye said. “As a team, we need to improve on consistency and our doubles play.”

Both teams agreed they played well this weekend and look to improve in the future.