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Cougar men finish 8th at NJCAA tennis championships
spt_branabas kalaba
Barton’s Barnabas Kalaba returns a volley for the Cougars during the NJCAA championships. Kalabas and partner James Kaoma made it to the quarterfinals in doubles before losing to the eventual NJCAA runner-up at No. 2 doubles. Barton finished 8th as a team. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO BCC Sports Information

PLANO, Texas – Going into the NJCAA men’s tennis championships, the Barton men took with them the No. 7 ranking in the nation.

That is pretty close to where the Cougars finished. Barton was a single point away from that seventh spot, placing eighth.

Tyler won the event, which was moved indoors for three of the five days due to the rain. Tyler scored 49 to win the meet, followed by a pair of Jayhawk schools. Cowley was runner-up with 39 points and Seward 37.

Barton had 21 points, just one behind Wallace State with 22 in seventh.

“Each year I think that is will be the one where we’ll get a favorable draw, but alas, it wasn’t,” Coach Lyle Stickney said. “I don’t know why fortune smiles on some programs, but lets Barton go free.

“Honestly, we were the seventh best team in the nation. There were six teams clearly better than us.”

The Cougars won all their opening round singles matches and two of the three doubles.

The only doubles team not to win its opening match, Victor Pestana Yordi Ponce, came all the way back through the consolation bracket to win it at No. 3 doubles.

The tandem lost just four games on the backside.

The other two doubles teams both reached the quarterfinals.

Samrakshyak Bajracharya and Eduardo Morias lost to the No. 3 seed at No. 1 doubles in the quarters, falling to the Tyler team of Yassir Kilani and Jaycer Lyeons, 6-3, 6-3. That duo finished runner-up.

At No. 2 doubles, James Kaoma and Barnabas Kalaba also lost to a team that would finish runner-up, falling to Seward’s Enzo Frequelin and Kyllian Savary, 6-1, 7-6(4). The Seward duo was the No. 6 seed.

Kaoma and Kalaba handed Cowley’s No. 3 seeded team of Aymeric Bruno and Alejandro Orihuela a loss in the second round, 6-4, 7-5, before falling to the Seward duo.

Morias also made it to the semifinals at No. 3 singles. On the way, Morias handed Bruno of Cowley, the No. 5 seed, a 6-4, 7-6(4) loss in the second round. Morias lost to the fourth seed in the quarters, losing 6-3, 7-6(3) to Collin’s Timothy Karpinski.

Three of Barton single’s players drew the second or third seed in their particular draw in second round action.

“The struggles we had to endure to finish as high as we did were epic,” Coach Stickney said. “This team is the Sisyphus of college tennis. We get a win over a seeded opponent and climb the leader board only to unexpectedly lose another match and topple back down.”

It puts the finishing touches on a year – two years for some – that will be unforgettable due to the pandemic.

“This team had a really good year,” Coach Stickney said. “Which is remarkable given the fact that three of the guys haven’t been home for nearly two years. It’s amazing they were able to remain focused through this pandemic.”

Team Standings

1 Tyler 49, 2 Cowley 39, 3 Seward 37, 4 Eastern Florida 34, 5 ABAC 32, 6 Collin 31, 7 Wallace St 22, 8 Barton 21, 9 Jacksonville 20, 10 Iowa Central 18, 11 Harford 17, 12 Mesa 16.5, 13 SC-Sumter 16, 14 Marion Military 13, 15 Lake County 12.5, 16 Jones 12, 17 Miss Gulf Coast 12, 18 Copiah-Lincoln 11, 18 East Central 11, 18 Itawamba 11, 21 Merdian 9, 22 Pima 6.5, 23 Kaskaskia 4.5, 24 Sauk Valley 4.

Barton Results


S1 – Samrakshyak Bajracharya

1st Round - def Para, Wallace, 6-4, 4-6 7-6(3)

Round of 16 – lost to (2) Lyeons, Tyler, 6-2, 6-3

S2 – James Kaoma

1st Round – def Nazaroff, Pima, 6-3, 6-0

Round of 16 – lost to (4) Kalinwoski, Collin, 6-4, 6-2

S3 – Eduardo Morias

1st round – def Earhart, Paradise Valley, 6-0, 6-0

Round of 16 – def (5) Bruno, Cowley, 6-3, 7-6 (4)

Quarterfinals – lost to (4) Karpinski, Collin, 6-3, 7-6(3)

S4 – Victor Pestana

1st round – def Phillips, Illinois Valley, 6-0, 6-0

Round of 16 – lost to (6) Hagan, Wallace, 7-6(3), 6-3

S5 – Barnabas Kalaba

1st round – def Springfield, ECCC, 6-1, 6-0

Round of 16 – lost to (2) Guerrero, Tyler, 6-2, 6-0

S6 – Leonel Caspe

1st round – def King, Itawamba, 6-1, 6-0

Round of 16 – lost to (3) Pla, Cowley, 6-2, 6-0


D1 – Bajracharya/Morias (6th seed)

1st round – Received a bye

Round of 16 – def Coots/Para, Wallace, 6-3, 6-0

Quarterfinals – lost to (3) Kilani/Lyeons, Tyler, 6-3, 6-3

D2 – Kaoma/Kalaba

1st round – def Fudge/Molero, MGCCC, 6-3, 6-3

Round of 16 – def (3) Bruno/Orihuela, Cowley, 6-4, 7-5

Quarterfinals – lost to (6) Frequelin/Savary, Seward, 6-1, 7-6(4)

D3 – Pestana/Yordi Ponce

1st round – lost to Mahoney/Pavitt, SC-Sumter, 6-3, 6-4

Cons 1st – def Kampf/Matias, Lake County, 8-2

Cons 2nd – received a bye

Cons Quarters – def Robles/Strickland, Pima, 8-1

Cons Semis – received a walkover

Cons Finals – def King/Moorman, Itawamba, 8-1