Photo: Sardis High’s Caroline Johnson competes during the Class 4A/5A girls’ state tennis tournament earlier this week in Mobile. (Submitted photo)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Sardis and Etowah finished fourth and seventh, respectively, at the Class 4A/5A girls’ state tennis tournament last Tuesday (April 9) at the Mobile Tennis Center.
The top local singles performers were Etowah’s Abrianna Erwin and Sardis’ Jayden Johnson.
Irvin finished runner-up to Randolph’s Alana Boyce in No. 1 singles, 0-6, 0-6. Irvin reached the finals after defeating Sardis’ Caroline Johnson, 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals and Leeds’ Sadie Anthony, 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Jayden Johnson opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Fayette County’s Claire Holliman, followed by a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Russellville’s Avery Miller. Johnson then defeated Etowah’s Kimberly Johnson, 6-1, 6-3 to reach the finals, where she fell to LAMP’s Dabeen Choi, 6-2, 4-6, 7-10.
Kimberly Johnson made the semifinals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over St. Michael Catholic’s Recely Jones and a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Leed’s Kate Moore.
Sardis and Etowah also made the doubles finals – Sardis in No. 1 and No. 3 and Eto-wah in No. 1. For the Lady Lions, No. 1 Caroline Johnson and McKenzie Williams beat Satsuma’s Kaitlin Ross and Ashland Ross, 6-0, 6-0 and St. John Paul II Catholic’s Lauren Grace Aeupan and Maren Weathers, 6-4, 7-5 before coming up short to Russellville’s Peyton Parrish and Sofia Tiffin, 3-6, 4-6. No. 3 Jayden Johnson and Reagan Handley Bested John Carroll Catholic’s Alex Deichman and Sofia Samaniego, 6-1, 6-2 and Leeds’ Piper Freind and Kate Moore, 6-2, 6-3 before falling to LAMP’s Dabeen Choi and Hanna Baik, 6-2, 5-7, 6-10.
For the Lady Blue Devils, Abrianna Irvin and Meg Higgins defeated Sylacauga’s Olivia Reams and Eva Reams, 0-6, 0-6 and Deshler’s Lauren Hand and Kaylee Bennett, 1-6, 0-6 before falling to Randolph’s Alana Boyce and Lova Stenberg, 1-6, 4-6.
“I thought we did really well; it was the best finish we’ve ever had,” said Sardis coach Amanda Johnson. “We left some points on the board at times, but it’s a big stage and they had the kids playing a lot of sets on the first day. Plus, we’re not used to the Mobile humidity, and that was tough on the girls.
“I thought both we and the Etowah girls showed out in coming from North Alabama and holding our own against those big private schools. Our section was extremely tough, and I think we proved that at state. Now they know who we are.”
Etowah’s Jacey Huff and Kimberly Johnson made it to the quarterfinals in No. 2 doubles, beating John Carroll Catholic’s Abi Schumann and Anne Marie Morgan, 6-3, 6-2 before falling to St. John Paul II Catholic’s Alex hall and Trish Bukenya, 3-6, 2-6.
Sardis’ McKenzie Williams, Sardis’ Emily Humphries and Reagan Handley and Etowah’s Jacey Huff all reached the se-mifinal round. In No. 2 singles, Williams opened with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Deshler’s Anna Lee Hester, followed by a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Russellville’s Sofia Tiffin. She then fell to Randolph’s Megan Tao, 2-6, 4-6.
In No. 3 singles, Huff defeated St. James’ Stella Spencer, 6-1, 6-7, 10-7 before posting a 6-0, 6-2 quarterfinal victory over LAMP’s Lily Tears. Huff then came up short to St. John Paul II Catholic’s Trish Bukena, 3-6, 1-6.
In No. 5 singles, Humphries beat John Carroll Catholic’s Anna Marie Morgan, 6-1, 6-2 and Russellville’s Addie Strickland, 6-3, 6-2 before falling to St. James’ Karly Bailey, 2-6, 2-6.
In No. 6 singles, Handley opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Satsuma’s Mileigh Mothershead and a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over LAMP’s Rachel Yun before losing to Altamont’s Katherine Grace Whatley, 3-6, 10-6.
“I’m so proud of these girls for what they accomplished this season,” said EHS tennis coach Beth Dayton. “I couldn’t be any happier with how the season went. Hopefully Abrianna will be back, and we’ve got four juniors returning. We’ve also got a strong junior varsity coming up, so the future looks bright.”