The William Jewell College men’s and women’s tennis teams have begun their fall season in full force. On the weekend of Sept. 6th, the Cardinal men competed in the Missouri Valley College Fall Tournament, and the Lady Cardinals competed in the Quincy University Invitational. In both competitions, Jewell performed admirably. The teams have competed side-by-side since then in duels at Rockhurst University in Kansas City and in the Bethany College Invitational in Salina, Kan.
The women, had a strong showing in Quincy. The first flight doubles team of Katy Lehenbauer, senior, and Sabrine Navarro, sophomore, lost in the semi-finals to the eventual champions from Quincy University. Conner and Loree Hazelrigg, seniors, took second place in the second doubles flight. Savannah Drew, junior, and Jessica Capps, sophomore, took second place in the third doubles flight. The Hazelrigg team lost to Maryville University, while Drew, and Capps also lost to a team from Quincy. In singles play, Navarro, Conner Hazelrigg, Drew, and Capps fell in the semi-finals. Loree Hazelrigg and Seki Anderson, first-year, took the championship in the 5th and 7th flight brackets, respectively.
The Quincy Invitational was Navarro’s first meet, since transferring to William Jewell from Chicago State University.
“I was really looking for a change. I wanted to experience a new part of the United States. What attracted me to Jewell was the opportunity to play the sport I love as well as receive a good education,” said Navarro.
Navarro mentioned that one of her favorite things about Jewell is the campus.
“It’s beautiful, it’s easy to get around, and the facilities are awesome.”
Navarro is revitalized in playing with a new team, but recognizes that a new role comes with it.
“I definitely play a different role on this team to my previous one. It’s exciting and it’s given me even more motivation to work hard to better myself as a player.”
Overall, Navarro has nothing but great things to say about her new team.
“The girls are great; they’re nothing but friendly and welcoming.”
On the men’s side, Amery Clews, sophomore, led the Cardinal men, to victory in the singles B flight championship. Additionally, Clews and partner Jimmy Hunter, senior, went on to win the doubles A flight Championship. Dean Pinhas, junior, and Michael Rawat,dominated the doubles B flight. Isaac Hamilton, junior, and AJ Naneep, sophomore, also advanced to the final, securing a win for the Cardinals. Marc Gartner and Marco Martinez Lopez, first-years, won their first collegiate matches, but eventually lost in the quarterfinals of their respective flights.
Naneep is optimistic about the men’s team this year. With the loss of five seniors, underclassmen will play a huge role in the team’s success this year.
“There are a lot of really talented underclassmen on the team. There is a lot of potential to improve significantly,” said Naneep.
The remaining juniors and seniors instill a strong leadership presence on the men’s team.
“The four upperclassmen [Hunter, Pinhas, Rawat,Naneep, and Hamilton] have stepped up and organized voluntary practices and weightlifting sessions.”
The team only has five upperclassmen out of eleven memebers.
“The first-years come in with a lot of skill and experience in competitive tennis. They will make an immediate impact once we begin the spring season,” Navarro said.