Wilson ITA Coach of the Year

Brooks Buffington | Jones College

Under the direction of Buffington, the Jones College Women’s Tennis Team recently completed an undefeated 22-0 season. The team only dropped 6 individual courts while playing 16 matches against ranked opponents and only dropped 2 of the 81 courts in conference play. While the team operates below NJCAA DII scholarship rules and is limited to 3 out of state players, they are still ranked inside the Top 10 in the NJCAA rankings. This year, the women’s team extends their over 5 year win streak of conference opponents to 88 and captured their fourth consecutive conference and regional titles this year. Buffington was voted MACCC Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year by his peer conference coaches and is also the NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year.

ITA Assistant Coach of the Year

Elizabeth Wooten | Hinds Community College

Wooten has been the Hinds Men’s and Women’s Assistant Coach for the past three years. During her time coaching the Bulldogs, Wooten has competently led her players both on and off the court, helping them in the classroom and as a life coach in general. She is well respected and loved by her players and peers. Prior to her time at Hinds, Wooten graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in psychology while on the equestrian team.

ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship

Zoe Smyth | Bevill State Community College

During her two seasons on the Bevill State Women’s Tennis Team, Zoe Smyth has served as a captain figure for both years for both the men’s and women’s teams. Smyth played at the No. 2 singles spot and No. 1 doubles spot during her freshman year. During her sophomore season, Smyth moved up to played at the No. 1 singles and doubles spot. Smyth entered into the Bevill State Women’s Tennis program with a focus on helping the future of the team and her teammates. When playing various opponents, Smyth continually approaches the competition with grace and has been a light on the court, focusing on lifting her teammates rather than solely focusing on her performance. Smyth has maintained a 3.5 GPA while at Bevill State and has been awarded the dean’s list on 3 separate occasions. She was also been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. By excelling in the classroom, Smyth has maintained the highest GPA for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams during her freshman season. At the conclusion of this previous spring semester, Smyth held the highest GPA for the women’s team as well.

ITA Rookie of the Year

Yee Ching “Candy” Wai | Tyler Junior College

Candy Wai finished 4th place at the Fall ITA Cup singles and 3rd in doubles this past fall. During the spring season, Wai played No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles for the Apaches. She posted a 16-9 singles record on the year and a 20-6 doubles record. Wai showed great work ethic throughout the 2023-24 season and in turn, the team culture benefited from her example. Continually connecting with team members, Wai has been an immediate leader during her time at TJCC thus far.

ITA Most Improved Sophomore

Natalia Michta | Tyler Junior College

Natalia Michta finished the 2023 season No. 33 in the nation in singles at No. 5 singles and 12 in the nation in doubles at No. 2 doubles. For the 2024 season, Michta played at No. 1, 2 and 3 doubles, maintaining a 12-3 record, and No. 1 singles, posting a 8-5 record. On top of Michta’s improvement from her first to second year on the court, she showed vast improvements in her understanding of how to be a good teammate and leader.

ITA Sophomore Player of the Year

Guadalupe Tocci | Jones College

Going a combined 33-0, 15-0 in singles and 18-0 in doubles, at the #1 and #2 singles and doubles spots, Guadalupe Tocci posted a perfect record this spring season. She helped her team to another MACCC Championship, was on the 2024 All-MACCC Team and was the 2024 MACCC Player of the Year. Tocci was also the 2024 ITA JUCO Southern Doubles Runner-Up. Excelling both on and off the court, Tocci is an ITA Scholar-Athlete and was on the Jones College Spring Dean’s List this semester. Tocci was also on the 2022-23 NJCAA All-Academic Third Team.

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