Men's Tennis Team Strives to Build off their Previous Season's Momentum
An outlook on the team's upcoming season
The Mississippi College’s men’s tennis team is on the uptick. The Choctaws have had a complete turn around since Michael Ward took his position as head coach two years ago. The team went from going 3-13 on the season to 10-9 finishing above .500. This led the men’s team winning the Most Improved award from the 2023 Student Athletic Advisory Committee alongside the women's team.
Last year’s team showed promise, with wins over top-ranked teams like Ouachita Baptist University, who was nationally ranked 5th at the time.
The Choctaws have a similar composition to previous years. The team graduated two players last year: Brady McDaniel and Hsiang Wang. Brady McDaniel has since become the team’s assistant coach, and freshmen Alex Benichou Blanchard and Sergio Ramirez Ocana have stepped in to round out the team. Blanchard is from Marseille, France. He has taken the line one spot, and he placed second in the Gulf South Conference fall tournament. Ramirez was runner up in the line five bracket at the tournament as well.
Following Blanchard’s strong tournament performance, he was ranked 28th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Singles Poll.
13 men representing seven countries make up the MC men’s team. The team is captained by Joe Jarvis, a senior from Texas, and Alvaro Saint Martin, a senior from Argentina.
Jarvis has high expectations for his senior season. “I think we did well last year, but we definitely have improved a lot,” he said. “It's my last season as a senior, so I’m most looking forward to spending quality time with the guys, competing together, and working hard together, and hopefully winning some championships.”
“The team is more complete, and we can do much better than last season,” says Saint Martin. “Our team is more united, which is a huge step for us going forward. We’ve been working hard, and we expect good results.”
Jarvis and Saint Martin agree that, between their hard work and new additions, the team is going to be tough to beat.
“We’ve been working a lot on and off the court, on the track, when it’s raining we’ve been training indoors, and overall we are very well rounded,” Jarvis said. “We have learned a lot about ourselves and how to work together as a team and how we can build off of that, so I think we’re going to be a lot more successful.”
“We’ve been working on our team culture being selfless and putting each other first,” Coach Ward said. He has high hopes for the program this year. “We have some really good competitors, so I'm expecting our guys to compete really hard. I think we have a top ten national program.”
Both men’s and women’s teams are starting regular season play Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at Jackson State.
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