Apaches win national tennis title

The Tyler Junior College Apaches won the NJCAA national tennis tournament. Photo by TJC

PLANO — With the national title firmly in hand, Tyler Junior College finished a dominating performance on Friday in the NJCAA Men’s National Tennis Tournament at Collin County Community College.

TJC won the championship with 47 points, finishing an incredible 11.5 points ahead of second-place ASA (N.Y.) College. Host Collin was third with 34 points, followed by Scottsdale (Ariz.) (30.5) and Laredo (27).

Also, the Apaches added four singles championships, two doubles titles and a consolation crown on the final day of competition.

TJC second-year coach Dash Connell, who led the Apache Ladies to the national title just last week in Tucson, Ariz., was named Coach of the Tournament.

It is TJC’s 16th men’s tennis national championship and the school’s 49th overall sports national title. It is TJC’s third national title of the school year, following men’s soccer and women’s tennis.

Earning individual national titles and with it first-team All-America honors were Adrien Berkowicz (Flight 1), James Martell (Flight 2), Ryan Hudelson (Flight 3) and Mitchell Martell (Flight 4). By placing second in Flight 6, George Rivers earns second-team All-America honors.

Berkowicz and Hudelson made it double All-America honors by winning Flight 2 doubles and Rivers and Dillon Eizember were first-team All-Americans by winning Flight 3.

In Flight 1 singles, Berkowicz, who has signed to play at Texas, finished a dominating national tournament with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mousa Zayad of Scottsdale. The No. 1 seeded Berkowicz did not drop a set this week.

Robert E. Lee High School graduate James Martell, the No. 5 seed in Flight 2 for the Apaches, completed a gutsy performance by winning his second straight three-setter. He claimed a 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 7 seed Filip Burnac of Scottsdale in the championship.

In Flight 3, TJC’s Hudelson, the No. 4 seed, won in straight sets in his finale, 6-3, 6-3 over No. 5 seed Oscar von Koch of Collin. The freshman from Little Rock, Ark., did not drop a set in the tournament.

Another Martell, Mitchell, cruised in Flight 4. He completed his flight with never being pushed to a third set. The top-seeded Apache won over No. 4 seed Christian Waldron of ASA, 6-2, 6-0.

Flight 5 was the only bracket that did not feature an Apache in the final. No. 3 seed Pavel Zhdanov of ASA claimed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over No. 2 Dave Pollack of Scottsdale.

In Flight 6, George Rivers, the No. 2 seed, fell to No. 1 seed Gelawdivos Haile of Georgia Perimeter, 6-3, 6-3.

TJC’s Berkowicz and Hudelson got the double gold by claiming the Flight 2 doubles title in a 6-3, 6-0 win over top seeds Hamid Derbani and Hector Ramirez of Laredo in the final. Berkowicz and Hudelson were the No. 2 seeds.

In Flight 3 doubles, Eizember and Rivers, the top seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Nial Khabiyev and Zhdanov of ASA in the championship, 6-3, 6-3.

The Martell brothers won the consolation final of Flight 1 doubles. They defeated Farai Chiridza and Tyler Cook of Hartford (Md.) by default in the final. Their opponents did not show.

In the Flight 1 doubles championship, top seeds Patrick Clynes and Donovan McSeveney of Collin claimed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 3 seeds Erick Bermudez and Warren Kuhn of Vincennes, Ind.

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