WVWC’s Julia Pinto earns All-Conference tennis honors


BRIDGEPORT — The Mountain East Conference today announced its all-conference teams and annual women's tennis awards with West Virginia State's Abigail Wild and head coach John Simms earning top honors.

Wild, a native of Sheffield, England, was named as both the MEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, while Simms was selected as the league's Coach of the Year. Wild is 11-0 at No. 1 singles for the Yellow Jackets, including a perfect 6-0 in conference play. She's currently ranked No. 23 in the country by the ITA. She's also 2-1 this year at No. 1 doubles and 2-0 at No. 2 doubles.

Simms earns the Coach of the Year honor for the sixth time in his career after helping West Virginia State to a seventh MEC regular season title. The Yellow Jackets went 8-3 this spring, with two of those losses coming to Division I teams and the other against nationally ranked Wingate. WVSU went through the MEC undefeated (6-0) and are the No. 1 seed for this weekend's conference tournament.

In addition to Wild, West Virginia State's Gaya Solomon also earned a spot on the first team. Charleston had three first-team players in Haarini Balakrishnan, AlexiAnn Drouin and Prinkle Singh. Gemma Cliffe (West Liberty), Taylour Newman (Davis & Elkins) and Ainara Pastor each also earned a spot on the first team.

WVSU had two players on the second team in Hanna Kruhlova and Chante Malo, as did Fairmont State in Isadora Matos and Candela Sevilla. Barbara Balancho (UC), Julia Pinto (WVWC) and Nathalia Valencia (WLU) all earned second-team honors.

The All-MEC teams and awards are selected by a vote of the league's coaches.

First Team All-Mountain East Conference

Name School Cl.

Haarini Balakrishnan Charleston R-Fr.

Gemma Cliffe West Liberty Fr.

AlexiAnn Drouin Charleston Jr.

Taylour Newman Davis & Elkins Jr.

Ainara Pastor Fairmont State Jr.

Prinkle Singh Charleston Fr.

Gaya Solomon W.Va. State Jr.

Abigail Wild W.Va. State Fr.

Second Team All-Mountain East Conference

Name School Cl.

Barbara Balancho Charleston Fr.

Hanna Kruhlova West Virginia State Sr.

Chante Malo W.Va. State Jr.

Isadora Matos Fairmont State Sr.

Julia Pinto W.Va. Wesleyan Fr.

Candela Sevilla Fairmont State So.

Nathalia Valencia West Liberty Fr.

Player of the Year: Abigail Wild (West Virginia State)

Freshman of the Year: Abigail Wild (West Virginia State)

Coach of the Year: John Simms (West Virginia State)

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