Bahamian collegiate tennis players in action

Bahamian collegiate tennis players Abigail Simms, Joshua Turnquest, Afrika Smith and Iesha Shepherd got off to a good start for their respective schools’ 2019-2020 season.

Simms, a freshman at Indiana Tech, was in action this past weekend at the 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Midwest Regional Championship. Action began on Thursday, September 19 and wrapped up on Saturday, September 21 at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.

The Grand Bahamian went into the main draw seeded at number eight. She began action on Thursday morning against the unranked Lauren Winchell of Indiana University Southeast.

Simms fell to Winchell in three sets – 2-6, 4-6 and 10-4.

Simms was placed in the consolation draw. She emerged as the champion on the consolation side when she defeated Huntington University’s Lanae Singleton in two quick sets – 6-2 and 6-3.

In the first game on the consolation side, Simms crushed the University of St. Francis’ Regina Faber 6-0 and 6-1. She cruised on the way to the championship round.

On the doubles side, Smith and her partner Carolina Fabbri were knocked out in the semifinal round. They fell 8-9 (5) to Huntington University’s duo of Meg Dolde and Morgan Fitzpatrick.

Simms has helped her school to a perfect 3-0 win-loss record this season. That record includes one win at home and two wins on the road.

The electrical engineering major has not lost an individual match in that stretch for a perfect 3-0. On the doubles side, Simms and Fabbri has yet to lose a match after three matches.

Next up for her and her team will be the Indiana Wesleyan University Fall Classic, set for this weekend.

Turnquest was in action for Asbury University at the River States Conference (RSC) Individual Tournament at Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky earlier earlier this month, September 7 and 8.

The senior was the number one seed in his flight draw to win 7-5 and 6-1 over Brescia University’s Danila Pyzh and a 6-0 and 6-3 victory over Midway University’s Julian Lopez.

In doubles play, Turnquest and Felipe Penula won the Green Draw over Indiana State University’s Garrett Fensler and Sebastian Burman.

Asbury won six of the nine flighted draws.

Next up for Asbury will be the ITA Regionals, slated for this weekend in Georgetown, Kentucky.

On the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) side, Smith advanced to the finals of the Women’s Flight C Singles in the Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) National Tennis Championships. The event occurred at the United States Tennis Association National Campus in Orlando and Daytona, Florida over the span of two weekends, this past weekend and the weekend before.

Smith went up against Florida A&M University’s Arielle Nealy. Unfortunately for Smith, she fell 2-6 and 2-6.

In the earlier rounds, Smith cruised in her four wins on the way to the championship round.

Smith teamed up with Chalina Godbolt to participate in the doubles portion of the championship. The duo managed to make it to the quarterfinals, where they fell to Alabama A&M University’s Camila Diaz and India Woods, 6-3.

This was the sophomore’s first tennis action for the year. She returns to action on October 4 when she plays in the Bedford Cup Invitational in Fort Myers, Florida.

Playing in these same championships was Jackson State University’s Shepherd. She played in the women’s Flight B singles. The Bahamian advanced to the semifinals round to play against Florida A&M’s Rachel Harden. In that match, she retired injured with the scoring at 6-0, 4-6 and 1-0 (6-6), as Harden moved on to the final round.

In the doubles division, Shepherd and Nina Zhang teamed up to march through to the semifinals, where the pair had a tough time against top-ranked Xavier University of Louisiana’s Lailaa Bashir and Angela Charles-Alfred.

Iesha Shepherd.

Shepherd and Zhang fell in a tough 7-6 (4) defeat as Bashir and Charles-Alfred advanced to the finals, where they eventually won.

Jackson State finished third with 17 points. Winning that division was Florida A&M with 29 points. Xavier University of Louisiana was second with 22 points.

Smith’s school finished sixth overall with six points.

Shepherd was in action this weekend at the Scramble of the Bayou, but results were not available at press time.

The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association congratulated all four players in a press release.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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