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Justin WaltersMay 4, 2016, 5:09 pmNov 15, 2017, 3:15 pm

Rockland Community College tennis team aims for historic regional championship

Once-discontinued program makes a big comeback

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Three years ago, Queens native Joseph Gravagna made a decision to return to tennis as a head coach.

Rockland Community College gave Gravagna a shot in 2013, after discontinuing their program three years prior.

"They say you can start at Rockland and go anywhere. That's really the truth,” Gravagna said.

The coach had to get creative because there are no scholarships for tennis in RCC’s division, and no dorms on campus.

But, the junior college’s academics are a selling point, and it’s that which reeled in some players for the team … which now has a chance to win the school’s first national junior college championship.

"Everyone is looking at us like we're champions. It feels different. We feel famous now,” said team member Lysander Payano.

Coach Gravagna didn't think his decision in 2013 would result with a regional championship so quickly.

"We knew it could be a good year, but potential and reality are two different things," he said.

The reality is this tennis team, with players from Indian and the Dominican Republic, will go down in Rockland history.

The team heads to Texas for the championship on May 14.

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