Cerritos tennis players excel at USTA/ITA

(L-R) Nathan Eshmade and Amade Kagoma win the USTA/ITA doubles title
(L-R) Nathan Eshmade and Amade Kagoma win the USTA/ITA doubles title

Hosting this year's USTA/ITA Southern Regional over the weekend, members of the Cerritos College men's and women's tennis teams proved to be too tough for their competition. Sophomore Nathan Eshmade, who reached the championship match of the CCCAA Men's Tennis Singles Tournament as a freshman, has earned the #1 ranking in Southern California after winning the singles title. Eshmade teamed with incoming freshman Amadi Kagoma to win the doubles title. They were joined on the women's side with sophomore Samantha Judan, who became the first Falcon player to win the singles title.
Cerritos head coach Alvin Kim is flanked by Nathan Eshmade and Samantha Judan, who won USTA/ITA singles titles

As a result of their championships, all will travel to Ft. Myers, FL on October 10 to compete in the USTA/ITA Small Colleges National Championship. Cerritos holds the #1-spots in all three competitions, while the women's doubles team of Judan and freshman Stef Flores were defeated in the quarterfinals.

In singles play, Eshmade easily dispatched David Stanko of Riverside City College, 6-2, 6-1, but trailed Vitor Mendez of Ventura College, 2-6, 1-2 in the championship match. A tactical change by Eshamde paid dividends, as he was able to fight back and win the second set, 6-2. In the third and deciding set, the score was tied at 4-4, but Mendez led, 40-0. But Eshmade reeled off five straight points to break serve for the match and went on for a 6-4 win. Eshmade and Kagoma tore through the draw and lost only three games to in the schools' first doubles ITA title. They upended Mendes and Zach Pittman, 8-3 in the finals.

As for Judan, who struggled through her freshman season, she was seeded #2 and started the day by defeating Zionne Lee of Ventura College, 6-1, 6-1 and then dominated #1-seeded Kaori Tsuda of Santa Monica College, 6-3, 6-3 for her first #1 ranking and collegiate tournament win.