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Bulldogs Win Region Title

No. 13 Mississippi Gulf Coast crushed No. 14 Jones to grab the NJCAA Region 23 Men’s Tennis Championship on Saturday in Ellisville. The Bulldogs won 5-1 for its first region title since 2013.

“It means to the world to us as a team,” Gulf Coast coach Sam Blackburn said. “It means the world to me personally. Having played here at Gulf Coast and finished second two years, it fueled the fire in me wanting to win the championship. From Day 1, they worked their butts off. It’s really paid off. They deserve all the credit. I’m just glad I got to be a part of it.”

Gulf Coast had already earned a spot in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Tournament, which starts May 10 in Plano, Texas. Jones will be in it, as will Itawamba, which claimed the third spot by beating Copiah-Lincoln 5-3.

Gulf Coast set the stage by storming to all three doubles points. Seth Macute (Fr., Brisbane, Australia/St Joseph’s Nudgee College) and Wesley Fontaine (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) dominated at No. 1, beating Trey Hilton and Nacho Vanecek 8-2.

“Doubles was phenomenal,” Blackburn said. “All three of them played their butts off.”

Pedro Molero (Fr., Maracaibo, Venezuela/U.E. Instituto Americano Joseph John Thomson) and Clay Fudge (Fr., Madison/Madison Central) defeated Gaspar Meda and Daniel Panzica 8-3 at No. 2, and Anderson Dulaney (Fr., Long Beach/Long Beach) and Jackson Ward won 8-4 over Braxton Wallis and John Jabour.

That left the Bulldogs only two points short of clinching, and Fontaine took care of Panzica in straight sets at No. 3. Fudge has been automatic at No. 4, and he beat Hilton 6-3, 6-3.

Fontaine and Fudge picked up their All-MACCC hardware in ceremonies after the tournament. Blackburn was named MACCC and Region 23 Coach of the Year.

Results

Team: Gulf Coast 5, Jones 1

Doubles

No. 1: Seth Macute-Wesley Fontaine (GC) def. Trey Hilton/Nacho Vanecek, 8-2

No. 2: Pedro Molero-Clay Fudge (GC) def. Gaspar Meda/Daniel Panzica, 8-3

No. 3: Anderson Dulaney-Jackson Ward (GC) def. Braxton Wallis-John Jabour, 8-4

Singles

No. 1: Macute (GC) def. Meda (JC) def. Macute, 6-3, 6-3

No. 3: Fontaine (GC) def. Panzica, 6-3, 7-5

No. 4: Fudge (GC) def. Hilton, 6-3, 6-3

NJCAA Region 23 Men’s Tennis Championship

Ellisville, Miss.

Thursday, April 15

Quarterfinals

No. 4 Copiah-Lincoln 5, No. 5 East Central 1

No. 3 Itawamba 5, No. 6 Meridian 4

Friday, April 16

Semifinals

No. 1 Gulf Coast 5, No. 4 Copiah-Lincoln 3

No. 2 Jones 5, No. 3 Itawamba 1

Saturday, April 17

Finals

No. 1 Gulf Coast 5, No. 2 Jones 1

Third-place match

No. 3 Itawamba 5, No. 4 Copiah-Lincoln 3

For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.