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Macute, Fontaine win finals

Seth Macute and Wesley Fontaine picked up one last win for Mississippi Gulf Coast in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship, and it lifted the Bulldogs up an important slot in the final standings.

Macute (Fr., Brisbane, Australia/St Joseph’s Nudgee College) and Fontaine (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) won the No. 1 doubles consolation final by beating Itawamba’s Sergio Garcia and Rhonzo Olaechea 8-4.

“We feel pretty happy, especially leaving with Wes and Seth winning the backdraw title,” Gulf Coast coach Sam Blackburn said. “That was special, and I’m happy for them.”

Unofficially, Gulf Coast looks poised to finish 16th, tied with Jones as the highest finishers among MACCC teams in Plano, Texas. ICC, Copiah-Lincoln and East Central were tied just a point back in an extraordinarily tight grouping.

Macute and Fontaine were certainly familiar with Friday’s opponents. The tandems had played each other twice during the regular season, with Gulf Coast winning both showdowns.

“Both of those guys care so much about the team and the program,” Blackburn said. “Wesley coming back for a third year shows how much he wanted to compete for us. For him to go out like that is really, really cool. Seth did great at 1-doubles this year, and for him to end his Gulf Coast career on a high note is really great. It’s satisfying for me to see.”

Friday put a bow on Blackburn’s first season in charge of the Gulf Coast tennis program. The men went undefeated in MACCC play to claim the conference championship, then swept through the Region 23 Tournament. The women finished as state and region runners-up and 12th at the national tournament.

“I’ve had a great group of guys and a great group of girls,” Blackburn said. “Both seasons were very good and we dealt with some things, but we were able to push through any hard things that came our way and got better from everything. I learned a lot and I’m going to miss both of these teams, and I’ll never forget this year.”

NJCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship

Collin College/Southern Methodist University

Plano, Arizona

May 17-21 (all times CT)

Friday’s Results

Consolation Draw

Singles

No. 2 finals: Heimanarii Lai-San (USC-Sumter) def. Pedro Molero (GC), 8-3

No. 5 finals: Gage Anderson (Wallace State) def. Anderson Dulaney (GC), 8-3

Doubles

No. 1 finals: Seth Macute-Wesley Fontaine (GC) def. Sergio Garcia-Rhonzo Olaechea (Itawamba), 8-4

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