The Roadrunner men's tennis team repeated as Region XIX team champions this weekend, claiming their second straight crown in a close battle against Ocean County College Saturday at Mercer County Park. Coach Brian Rowan's team won four singles and two doubles championships to wrap up the team triumph.
"It was a really special day for us as the team played their best tennis at the right time," said Coach Rowan. "Our sophomore group of Zach (Carr), Paulo (Claure) and J.P. (Ciliberto) were outstanding in both the leadership area and on court."
In the singles competition, Claure won the No. 2 singles crown, Ciliberto won at No. 3, freshman Jake Carlson was victorious at No. 4 and Carr grabbed the No. 5 crown. In doubles action, Claure and Ciliberto teamed to win the second doubles title while Carr and freshman Dylan Kelly were champions at third doubles against Ocean, which proved to be the clinching win.
"We had some nerves early on in the match but once we got going we were fine," said Carr. "Dylan (Kelly) played phenomenal and we were able to move around on the court pretty freely.
"I felt as a team we played at our highest level of the season."
Coach Rowan also noted that Paulo Claure's play was critical throughout the tournament.
"Paulo may have been the hero of the tournament by turning around and beating two players who he lost to during the season. We all knew he was capable and glad he did it at the right time -- and his level of play was really good to see."
The Roadrunners will now prepare for the upcoming NJCAA National Championships in PeachTree City, GA. The team will have a short turnaround before departing for the @NJCAA National Championships in PeachTree City, GA on Thursday. RCGC finished as the No. 2 team in the NJCAA Division III Tournament in 2018. Watch for a preview of the tournament on all RCGC web site and social media sites this week.