Tennis/Squash

Smith named SWAC Player of the Year

  • Making a racket: Smith is one of Bermuda’s biggest hopes (Photograph by Charles A. Smith/Jackson State University)

Tyler Smith underlined her potential after being named Southwestern Athletic Conference Women’s Player of the Year.

The Jackson State University student copped the prestigious award after compiling an unblemished 8-0 record in conference singles and was also named to the All-Conference Singles and Doubles first team.

“On behalf of the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association we are extremely proud of Tyler’s 2017 Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Award,” Ricky Mallory, the national tennis director, said.

“To be recognised and chosen by sports information directors and head coaches from other schools goes to show you the impact Tyler has made in her conference.”

Smith participates on the ITF women’s professional circuit and, as such, has been granted an automatic place in Bermuda’s Fed Cup team that will compete in Panama this summer.

“With Tyler’s great year topped off with the fact that she is now participating on the ITF Women’s Circuit, she will bring an added boost to the ladies Fed Cup team that will be travelling to Panama in July,” Mallory added.

SWAC Player of the Year votes were tabulated from a cast of ballots received from the school’s sports information directors and head coaches.

The All-Conference selections consists of a 12-player team. Members of the All-SWAC Team were decided based upon their conference records during regular season play of the combined two round-ups that were hosted by Jackson State University and Alabama State University.

Smith is regarded as one of the island’s most promising female tennis players.

She was a member of Bermuda’s victorious team at the 2009 ITF U-13 Caribbean Development Championships in Trinidad and since then has gone on to represent the island at the Fed Cup, Central American and Caribbean Games and the Island Games.

Smith and her Jackson State team-mates closed the season on a losing note yesterday after going down to Alabama State in SWAC Championship final at the Pepsi Tennis Centre in New Orleans.

Jackson State, the No 2 seeds, were denied a third SWAC championship after losing 4-2 against No 1 seeds Alabama State at the last hurdle.

Smith did not complete her singles match in the No 1 slot against Alabama State’s Reka Szentes. She trailed 4-0 in the third set when play was halted after the two players split the opening two sets.

Smith won the doubles contest in the No 2 slot with sophomore Lucia Solis over rivals Szentes and Marine Cartier 6-2.

Two-times SWAC Championship winners Jackson State reached the final after eliminating No 3 seeds Southern 4-1 on Saturday.

Smith breezed past Southern freshman Stephanie Mbaya 6-1, 6-2 in singles and then teamed up with Solis to beat Rufaro Chirewa and Darnesha Moore 6-4 in doubles.