Another sport begins action Saturday as Dalton State’s first year athletic program continues to roll out teams.
The Roadrunner tennis teams play in Athens, Tn. The DS men face St. Catherine College of Springfield, Ky. at 10:00 a.m. EDT Saturday. The St. Catherine women’s tennis team is not playing a fall schedule.
Both Dalton State tennis teams meet the hosts from Tennessee Wesleyan at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. It will also be the first action for the Bulldogs. Scheduled games with Carson-Newman and Tusculum College were rained out in September.
Roadrunner tennis teams have only one other date on their fall schedule. They travel to Lawrenceville on October 18 to play Georgia Gwinnett College.
The spring schedule begins in February. The men entertain North Georgia University at Lakeshore Park on February 2. The women go back to Lawrenceville for Georgia Gwinnett College on February 5. The first home action for the ladies will be on February 8 when the host Sneed State Community College Parsons from Boaz, Al.
Michel Bates, Dalton State’s Director of Tennis Programs, says the teams are “ready to make history.”
“We are excited about our first match,” Bates said. “Our players have been working very hard on the court and on their conditioning.”
“We are ready to get this one under our belt and in the books,” Bates said. “We have practiced well, so now we get to see where we are as a team and what we are made of.”
Bates says she likes what she has seen. “This is a great group of kids,” she said. “We are looking for good things on Saturday.”
Singles and doubles line-ups will be adjusted as Bates and Coach Zach Rogers finish last minute preparations. Nicolay Nikiforov and Adam Hornby are the top two men’s players coming out of practice. Laura Winters and Diana Narino lead the Lady Roadrunners.
Nikiforov, a 6’5”, 193 lbs. freshman, is from Moscow, Russia. He is a graduate of Bradenton, Fl. Prep Academy and attended State College of Florida in St, Petersburg. He has trained at United Tennis Academy in Bradenton.
Nikiforov has won a number of USTA, Russian, and European tennis tournaments.
Hornby is a 6’1”, 170 lbs. freshman from Christchurch, New Zealand. A graduate of Riccarton High School in Christchurch, Hornby came to Dalton and the upstart tennis team “to start something new”.
Hornby is the Canterbury men’s interclub winner and has won the Otago Men’s Open and the Queenstown Men’s Open. He was the Canterbury Junior Representative (12s, 14, and 16s).
Born in England, he would like to one day represent Barbados on their Davis Cup team. He has dual citizenship with New Zealand and Barbados.
Hornby hopes to use his business degree from Dalton State to become a business owner.
Zach Dennis is a 6’2”, 173 lbs. junior from Trophy Club, Tx..
Dennis played tennis for Tyler (Texas) Junior College, the NJCAA National Champions for the 2012-2013 tennis season. He was also a member of the John Newcombe National Touring Tennis Team.
Dennis is a history major who wants to pursue a career in professional tennis or write for National Geographic.
David Draghiceanu is a 6’2”, 180 lbs. freshman from Woodstock, Ga.
Draghiceanu has been playing USTA tournaments since age nine and consistently maintained a top 20 ranking in the highly competitive state of Georgia. He is also a top 100 player in the Southern section.
He was the Cherokee Ledger-News 2012 Co-Player of the Year and has enjoyed remarkable success in both singles and doubles play.
Drew Mosteller is a 6’0”, 172 lbs, freshman from Chatsworth, Ga. The 2013 graduate of North Murray High School was a four-time tennis MVP for the Mountaineers.
Mosteller is the only tennis MVP in North Murray’s short history. It is now the Drew Mosteller Tennis MVP Award.
Noah Cleary is a 6’0”, 160 lbs. sophomore from Chatsworth. A 2012 graduate of Murray County High School is a scholar athlete who excels in math.
Cleary was the number one player on his Indian tennis team and an all area selection. He attended Georgia Southern in Statesboro for one year. “I came to Dalton State because Coach Zach (Rogers) and Coach Michel (Bates) called me and said this was a good opportunity for local players,” Cleary said. “Coach Zach and Coach Michel are great coaches.”
Cleary is studying international business with hopes of moving to Europe after graduation. He wants to work for a large corporation.
Lucas de Sousa is a 5’9”, 175 lbs., junior. The native of Brazil attended Itawanba Community College in northeast Mississippi.
A business management major, de Sousa has made it to the NJCAA National Tournament in doubles while playing #1 singles and doubles at Itawanba.
Juan Pablo Arguello is a 5’11”, 173 lbs. redshirt junior from Bogota, Columbia.
Arguella played tennis at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Ms. WCU was ranked third in the SSAC and as high as fourth in the country in the NAIA during the past season. He taught tennis in the northeast this past summer.
“We are very happy with Juan’s decision to transfer to Dalton State,” said Rogers. “ Anytime you can bring in an experienced player from a nationally ranked program you feel fortunate.”
Hadyn Fava is a 5’11”, 175 lbs. sophomore from Ringgold, Ga. Fava was number one in singles during each of his four years at Heritage High School. He was also “Best of Preps” for three years.
Fava started his college career at Kennesaw State, but moved to Dalton State for the opportunity to play tennis and be closer to his hometown.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to help the Roadrunners bring home some national titles,” he said.
Robert Mihail Serafim is a 6’6”, 210 lbs. freshman from Bucharest, Romania.
Serafim attended Edison High School in Bucharest where he had a number of other interests. He awarded the Freestyle Snowboarding award the IPop Model of the Year Award in 2009.
“Good coaches and a beautiful town” attracted Serafim to Dalton State. He also studied at United Tennis Academy.
The Dalton State women’s team only has four players this fall with additions expected for the spring of 2014.
Laura-Sophie Winter is a 5’8” sophomore from Berlin, Germany. She has won the Berlin Championship for under 12 and under 14.
Winter came to the United States to attend Cameron University in Lawton, Ok. She transferred to Dalton State for the opportunity to make history as a member of the school’s first tennis team.
The sophomore business major would like to stay and work in the United States after graduation.
Diana Narino is a 5’8”, 150 sophomore from Bogata, Columbia. She began her college tennis career at Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga. where she played number one singles and number one doubles.
“Tennis is my passion,” Narino said at her signing. “I am sure it is going to be a great experience full of challenges on and off the court.”
Maria Alejandra Bejarano is a 5’4”, 122 lbs. sophomore from Bogata, Columbia. She also played for Reinhardt last season.
Also enticed by the idea of being a part of the first four year tennis program, she intends to eventually earn a masters degree.
“It is a great school for me,” Bejarano said. “The idea of being part of a new athletic program is exciting and challenging.”
Chelsea Powell is a 5’7”, 135 lbs. sophomore from Nassau, Bahamas. Powell earned her associates degree from tennis powerhouse Tyler (Texas) Junior College.
Powell is a marketing major at Dalton State with hopes of being a sport manager and marketing agent for professional tennis players and/or football players.
“I believe Dalton State will give me better job opportunities,” she said.
Gabbie Bordelon is the tennis manager.