Bahamians add to globalization of American college tennis

Nine Bahamians currently compete in NCAA and ITA sanctioned events as members of American college tennis teams. Submitted photo

International student-athletes make up a large contingency within American collegiate tennis. Over the years, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has contributed to the pool of international tennis players attending colleges and universities in the United States.

The Bahamas Lawn and Tennis Association (BTLA) recently acknowledged nine of its players that are currently competing on the collegiate level throughout the United States.

“We are excited for our returning athletes and our new athletes who will be adjusting to the college scene,” the BLTA shared in a released statement.

The student-athletes BLTA highlighted include Jacobi Bain, Xavier University of Louisiana; Donte Armbrister, Hampton University; Elana Mackey, Mars Hill University; Anthony “AJ” Burrows Jr., University of Missouri-St. Louis; Abigail Simms, Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech); Sydney Clarke, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB); Peyton-Lynn Anderson, Southwest Minnesota State University; Kofi Bowe and Shaytonya Missick, Johnson C. Smith University.

Wishing that “all are successful on the courts and in the classroom,” the BLTA prides itself on the organization’s ability to “marry the vast talent pool of players of the Bahamas with a solid foundation of accredited coaches, talent development and competition to spur performance locally and abroad.”

Sixty years ago, in 1962, the inaugural BLTA National Championships for juniors was held, paving the way for the development of the sport in the Caribbean country. In 1992, the BLTA joined the newly formed Central America and Caribbean Tennis Confederation (COTECC), providing additional opportunities for Bahamian youth to pursue a pathway to playing American collegiate tennis.

There are over 20,000 international student-athletes enrolled and competing at NCAA higher education institutions. American college tennis, men’s and women’s teams, have the highest percentage of international student-athletes competing in an NCAA sponsored sport, according to NCSA College Recruiting,

Former American College Tennis Players of Bahamian Descent
*John Antonas, Miami Dade Junior College & University of Alabama
*Rod Carey, University of Wisconsin
*Joyanne Carroll, University of West Alabama
*Luigi D’Agord, University of Alabama
*Nikkita Fountain, Southern Nazarene University & Florida International University
*Mark Knowles, UCLA
*Mark Merklein, University of Florida
*Baker Newman, Vanderbilt University
*Spencer Newman, University of Florida
*Simone Pratt, ASA College & Nova Southeastern University
*Alanna Rogers, Rice University
*Chelsi Russell, Morgan State University
*Errol Smith, Ohio State University
*Erin Strachan, University of Colorado
*Ryan Sweeting, University of Florida

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