NMMI Sports Press
PLANO, Texas — NMMI freshman Noureldin Adam is one step away from a national tennis title.
Playing at the NJCAA Nationals in the early morning at the Southern Methodist University indoor tennis courts — moved because of persistent rain at the Collin College outdoor courts — No. 5 seed Adam breezed by No. 2 Ismael Mzai of Seminole State, moving him into Friday’s finals.
“Pretty much from the word go, this guy came out determined and nothing was going to stop him today,” said excited Bronco coach William O’Connell. “Played light’s out tennis. Very aggressive tennis. Hat’s off to him. To come up against a sophomore who’s been there, done that before, and to go out and execute the way he did, shows how much confidence he has in himself. What a guy.”
Adam went up 2-1 in the first set then dropped down a break before coming back to tie the set at 4-4. He retook the lead 6-5 in the first set and came back to win in a tiebreaker, 7-6(4.)
He made the second set look easy, winning 6-3, but even when he was down, O’Connell said the “Sudanese Machine” never quit.
“There were breaks throughout the match. We were down a break in the beginning and he showed great composure for a freshman and great self belief to take it on the way he did.”
It’s been a long time since any NMMI player has advanced this far. Quick research shows NMMI won the Flight 5 (Tolito Gonzales) and Flight 6 (Krishn Wickremasinghe) singles titles in 1982, and earlier than that, in 1978, the Bronco men tied for the team national championship with Odessa and Midland, with the Flight 1 (Alberto Jimenez/Manuel Dropezadoubles) and Flight 2 (Rex Elmore/Hitoshi Schirato) doubles team earning titles.
In 1993, Isaac Donkor, the uncle of graduating cadet Herman Abban, was rated the No. 1 junior college tennis player in the nation, and in 1997, Ronnie Rugimbana earned the ITA Rookie of the Year award.
In more recent times, the Flight 1 doubles team of Chris Toli and Greg Mitchell lost in the semifinals in 2008, earning the No. 4 ranking in the country.
Adam’s opponent in Friday’s championship match is ASA Miami’s Nicolas Rouanet, the No. 1 seed, who battled the No. 3 seed, Ciro Lampasa, of Tyler JC in a close match. But while the opponent was still unknown, O’Connell said it really didn’t matter who the Bronco faces.
“We’re just pumped for whoever it is, because if Adam comes out the way he’s come out in the last two matches, he just takes the racquet out of your hands, almost.”
O’Connell will post updates of the match on the Bronco tennis Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NMMI-Bronco-Tennis-Mens-and-Womens-243858685686387/) every two games, so anyone wanting to follow Adam can keep up to date.
NJCAA Men’s Tennis Nationals
Flight 2 — Noureldin Adam (5) def. Ismael Mzai (2), Seminole State, 7-6(4), 6-3