Young tennis squad gets first taste of college competition this fall at Pratt Community College

Pratt Community College Communications
Pratt Tribune
Pratt Community College tennis players have completed a successful season of bringing the sport back to a competitive level for the Beavers in 2021.

Pratt Community College head tennis coach Jeret Johnson and a strong contingent of tennis athletes have brought tennis back to Beaver-land as PCC  joined the ranks of competitive tennis again this spring. The college in Pratt has not offered competitive tennis an as option to student-athletes for several decades.

However, since August excitement among local team-members and supporters has been played out all over the state of Kansas and Oklahoma. Their inaugural season ended with a special PCC Hall of Fame tennis dedication on October 9 which honored past tennis greats from Beaver history.

“Our young squad got their first taste of college tennis this fall and they are hungry to get out and compete again next spring,” said Johnson. “We have the tools and mind set to do something special this year.”

The team kicked off their season on September 5 with exhibition matches against Cowley College and Southwestern College in Winfield. The Beavers went 1-1 on the day beating Southwestern College 4-3 and losing to Cowley College 0-7.

The first official tournament of the fall came on September 11 at the Bethany College Invitational in Lindsborg. In Draw A singles, freshman David Arrieta had a bye in round one and went on to lose in the 2nd round, but finished 6th overall in the bracket. In the bottom half of the bracket, freshman Dante Despontin started out with a bye, but competed all the way to the final round and finished 2nd overall. He defeated two players from Iowa Central on the day. In Draw B singles, the Beavers had lots of success with both freshman Maxime Guyon and Vitor Goncalves playing their way into the final round. The final match was called off due to the heat and it being between two Beaver athletes. Guyon had a bye in the first round and then went on to defeat a player from Bethany College and Iowa Central on his way to the finals. Goncalves had a bye in the first round as well and went on to defeat a player from Doane University and Iowa Central. The final player from Pratt in Draw B was freshman Oleksandr Makarov who was defeated in the second round after having a bye in the first. In Draw C singles, freshman Auron Hoyer lost in the semi-finals after de-feating a player from Doane University in the second round. Both fresh-man Vinicious Costa and Andile Sibanda lost in the second round and fought there way in the 5th place match. That match was not played due to both players being from Pratt.

In Draw D singles, the Beavers repeated their success from earlier in the day with both freshman Antonio Mironovic and Nate Moore playing there way into the final match. Freshman Connor Fitzsimmons was also in this draw, but lost in the second round.In Draw A doubles, two Pratt teams faced each other in the semi-finals. The team of Despontin/Moore faced Goncalves/Guyon with Gon-calves/Guyon moving into the final round ultimately finishing 2nd. The third Pratt team in the bracket consisted of Hoyer/Mironovic who lost in the second round.

In Draw B doubles, the Beavers pickup up there first doubles bracket W of the day. Freshman Makarov/Costa competed and won the Draw B champions. They knocked off teams from Tabor College and Iowa Central on their way to the championship. The second doubles team in the bracket was Fitsimmons/Sibanda who were defeated in the second round.

Over the weekend of September 17, the PCC tennis team traveled to Oklahoma City to take part in the OKC Collegiate Invite. The team faced competition from both community colleges and universities all over the Midwest region. In the consolation round of Flight #2 freshman Guyon advanced to the semifinal round eventually losing to a player from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. In Flight #3 Goncalves advanced to the quarterfinal round losing to the #1 seed of the bracket from Seward County Community College. In the final flight of singles action both Moore and Mironivic advanced to the quarterfinal round both losing their matches to schools in Kansas. In the consolation round of Flight #1 doubles the team of Despontin and More played their way into the semifinals and eventually lost to a team from Texas A&M University-Texarkana. In the consolation round of Flight #2 both the teams of Goncalves/Guyon and Arrieta/Mironivic played into the semi-final round. In the final round of doubles the team of Costa/Hoyer played their way into the final consolation match-up and lost to a team from the host school Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The Beavers finished up the fall season at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regional Championships held in Arkansas City. The tournament consisted of one flight for singles and one for doubles. The doubles team of Despontin and Arrieta played their way back and won in the consolation bracket.In the singles flight Arrieta made into the round of 16 eventually losing to the #6 seed from Seward County Community College. Despontin played his way back into the semifinals of the consolation bracket losing to a player from Iowa Central. In the doubles flight Guyon/Goncalves made into the quarterfinals and were beaten by the #2 seeded team from Cowley College.

The team will take the next couple of months to prepare for the start of their spring season. The Beavers will open their season at home on Saturday, February 19, taking on Tabor College. Matches will begin at 11 a.m. that morning.